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Comall UnlvOTSlty Library 
JN181 .T16 1922 

Tudor constitutional documertts 


1924 030 504 322 

Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



C. F. CLAY, Manager 









Tudor Constitutional Documents 
A.D. 1485-1603 

with an historical commentary 

J. R. TANNER, Litt.D. 

Fellow and formerly Tutor of 
St John's College, Cambridge 

at the University Press 

I 922 


TEACHERS of experience would probably agree that 
English Constitutional History should be studied in 
close connexion with documents. These serve a high educa- 
tional purpose, for they supply materials for constructing a 
proper historical background and creating the real historical 
atmosphere. With their aid it is possible for the student to 
test for himself the generalisations and epigrams of historians, 
and to find out what is really behind them. Instead of relying 
entirely upon eloquent modern statements in praise or in 
condemnation of the Tudor ecclesiastical policy, he can fol- 
low the genuine movement of Reformation thought ex- 
pressed in the language of the great churchmen of that age, 
and can trace in the Royal Injunctions^ and in Hooker's 
Ecclesiastical Polity the reasonableness, moderation, and 
learning which came to be characteristic of the Anglican 
Church. The dry bones of Star Chamber history clothe 
themselves with flesh and blood in the records of actual 
cases in which human beings are concerned; and arid 
legal propositions about the Law of Treason take on a new 
character in the story of things that really happened in a 
treason trial. Ready-made summaries of the great constitu- 
tional statutes, memorised for examination purposes, cease to 
satisfy the student who has access to the statutes themselves, 
and can extract from their resounding phrases and intermin- 
able verbiage his own idea of their essential meaning. 

An experience of nearly forty years in preparing can- 
didates for the Cambridge Historical Tripos has, however, 
convinced the present writer that the documents will never 
be properly studied while they are divorced from the history 
and relegated to separate collections, often only to be read up 
in a hurry on the eve of an examination. To the collection 
of Tudor documents here printed there has therefore been 

1 E.g. the Injunction of 1536 concerning pilgrimages (p. 93 below). 


added a full historical commentary, dealing with the more 
important problems of the constitutional history of the 1 6th 
century. The work is feased upon a course of lectures on 
Later Constitutional History delivered to Tripos candidates 
at Cambridge. 

The texts of the documents selected are chosen mainly 
for their accessibility to the student in the University and 
College Libraries. 

Thanks are due to the foUowing for permission to print copy- 
right material. To the Controller of His Majesty's Stationery 
Office for extracts from the Calendar of Patent Roll's; Letters and 
Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII; Calendar of State Papers 
{Iiomiestic)r^ and Acts of the Privy Council, edited by Sir J. R. Dasent. 
To the President and Council of the Selden Society, for extracts 
from Select Cases in the Court of Requests and Select Cases in the 
Court of Star Chamber, both edited by Mr I. S. Leadam. To the 
Somerset Record Society for permission to print cases from Pro- 
ceedings in the Court of Star Chamber in the reigns of Henry VII and 
Henry VIII, edited by Miss G, Bradford. To the Early English 
Text Society for extracts from The Supplication of Beggars, by 
Sipion Fish, edited by Dr F. J. Furnivall; and England in the 
reign of King Henry VIII, by Thomas Starkey, edited by Mr 
J. M. Cowper and by Mr S. J. Herrtage. To Mr J. E. Neale, 
and the editor and publishers of the English Historical RevieitC^i 
for permission to print better versions of two Elizabethan speeches 
than those given byD'Ewes. To Messrs G. Bell & Sons for 
qiaotations from a sermon printed in Lupton's. Life of Colet. To 
Messrs Macmillaar & Co. for permission to quote freely from the 
Royal Injunctions printed in Messrs Gee and Hardy's collection; 
of Documents illustrative of English Church History. Finally, to the 
Syndics of the Cambridge University Press for leave to use Mr L 
Alston's edition of Sir Thomas Smith's De Republica Anglorum. 

The writer also desires gratefully to acknowledge the kindness 1 
of two personal friends, G. G. Coulton, M.A., Fellow of St John's 
College, Cambridge, who read the section on the Dissolution of. 
the Monasteries and made some valuable suggestions; and 
H. D. Hazeltine, Litt.D., Downing Professor of the Laws of 
England, who went through the whole work in proof, and did 
all that a friend could do to rescue its author from the snares which 
beset the feet of a constitutional historian who is not also a lawyer.' 

15 December 1921 J- °- T- 








§ I Minor Ecclesiastical Reforms . . . . . 13 

§ 2 Submission of the Clergy ...... 16 

§ 3 Cessation of Payments to the See of Rome . . 25 

§ 4 Prohibition of Appeals to Rome .... 40 

§ 5 Dissolution of the Monasteries .... 50- 

§6 The Injunctions of 1536 AND 1538 .... 93 

§ 7 The Six Articles 95 


§ I The Injunctions of 1547 lOO 

§ 2 Statutes of the Protectorate .... 102 

§3 Later Religious Changes, 1550-53 . . . . 113 



§ I The Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity . . .130 

§2 The Injunctions of 1559 ...... 140 

§ 3 The Penal Laws against the Catholics . . .141 

§ 4 The Puritan Movement 163 



§ I Composition AND Procedure 216 

§ 2 Business of the Council 225 


§ I Composition 254 

§ 2 Procedure 255 

§ 3 Business of the Star Chamber 257 

T.D. * 




§ I Procedure .... 

§ 2 Business ..... 
§ 3 Decline of the Court 


§ I The Council of the North 
§ 2 The Council of Wales 
§ 3 The Council of the West 


§ I Court of Augmentations . 
§ 2 Court of First Fruits and Tenths 
§ 3 Court of Wards and Liveries . 
§ 4 Court of Surveyors . 


§ I The Courts of Common Law 

§ 2 Court of Admiralty 

§ 3 Court of the Constable and Marshal 


§ I The Palatine Courts 
§ 2 The Stannary Courts 


§ I The Archdeacon's Court 
§ 2 Court of the Bishop . 
§ 3 Courts of the Archbishop 
§ 4 High Court of Delegates 
§ 5 Court of High Commission 


§ I Constructive Treasons 

§ 2 Statutory Treasons 

§ 3 Procedure in Trials for Treason 

§ 4 Attainder .... 

§ 5 Court of the Lord Steward 

§ 6 Punishment of Treason 

§ 7 Trials for Treason . 























§ I The Commission of the Peace 

§ 2 Judicial Functions of the Justices of the Peace 

§ 3 Vagabonds, Beggars, and Poor Relief 

§ 4 Roads and Bridges .... 

§ ^ Licensing of Ale-houses 

§ 6 Regulation of Labour and Wages 

§ 7 Miscellaneous Police Duties 

§ 8 The Ecclesiastical Parish 


Composition of Parliament 
Sessions of Parliament 
Franchise and Qualifications . 
Influence of the Crown on Parliament 

(a) Interference in Elections 

(b) Choice of a Speaker 

(c) Influence of the Crown upon Legislation 
Parliamentary Procedure 
Privilege of Parliament . 

(a) The Speaker's claini of Privilege ~T 

(b) The Privilege of Freedom of Sipeech - 

(c) The Privilege of Freedom from Arrest -r- 

(d) The right of either House to commit to prison 

(e) The right to determine questions connected with 
membership of the House of Commons 


§ I Permanent Revenue . 


§ 2 Parliamentary Revenue 



§ 4 Expenditure 


















Star Chamber Act (3 Henr. VII, c 1} . 
Bail Act (3 Henr. VII, c. 4) 
^ Justices Act (4 Henr. VJlyC. 12) .... 
' Statute of Treason (,f-rlHenr. VII, c. i) . 
"1-^95 Beggars Act (11 Henr. VII, c. 2) . 
1.^04 Act concerning Corporations (19 Henr. VII, c 7} . 
i5&)Statute of Liveries (19 Henr. VII, c. 14) 
""1^64 Act for the Feudal Aid (19 Henr. VII, c. 32} . 
1 5 10 Tonnage and Poundage Act (i Henr. VIII, c. 20^ . 
1512 Strode's Act (4 Henr. VIII, c. 8) . 
1512 Poll Tax Act (4 Henr. VIII, c. 19) . . . 

1 523 Act for the Attainder of the Duke of Buckingham (14 & 15 

^r->t Henr. VIII, c. 20) 

I559NStar Chamber Act (21 Henr. VIII, c. 20) 
TJ^l'^Statute of Bridges (22 Henr. VIII, c. 5) 
1 53 1 Act against Poisoners (22 Henr. VIII, eg). 
1 53 1 Beggars Act (22 Henr. VIII, c. 1 2^ 
1 53 1 Act for the Pardon of the Clergy of Canterbury (22 Henr, 

VIII, c. 15) 

Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates (23 Henr. VIII. 


Act in Restraint of Appeals (24 Henr. VIII, c. 12) . 
>Act for the Submission of the Clergy (25 Henr. VIII, c. 19^ 
Act in Absolute Restraint of Annates (25 Henr. VIII, c. 20) 
)ispensations Acf (25 Henr. VIII, c. 21) 
)Firsf Succession Act (25 Henr. VIII, c. 22) . 
>Act of Supremacy (26 Henr. VIII, c. i) 
1534 Act annexing First-fruits and Tenths to the Crown (26 

Henr. VIII, c. 3) 

1 534 Act concerning the Marches of Wales (26 Henr, VIII, c. 6) 
1534 Treasons Act of Henry VIII (26 Henr. VIII, c. 13) 
1536 Act annexing certain Franchises to the Crown (27 Henr. 

,^,_^ VIII, c. 24) 

JKlM Beggars Act (27 Henr. VIII, c. 25) .... 
1536 Act for the Court of Augmentations (27 Henr. VIII, c. 27) 


















1536 Act for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries (27 Henr 

VIII, c. 28) 

1536 Second Succession Act (28 Henr. VIII, c 7) . 
1536 Act against the Papal Authority (28 Henr. VIII, c. lo) 
1536 Act for the Court of Admiralty (28 Henr. VIII, c. 15) 
1539 Statute of Proclamations (31 Henr. VIFI^ c. 8) 
1539 Bishoprics Act (31 Henr. VIII, c. 9)* . 
1539 Act of Precedence (31 Henr. VIII, c. loj 

1539 Act for the Dissolution of the Greater Monasteries (3 
^_^^_^^ Henry VIII, c. 13) 

153^ Statute of Six Articles (31 Henr. VIII, c. 14) 
TJ40 Act concerning Liberties (32 Henr. VIII, c. 20) 

1540 Act dissolving the Cleves Marriage (32 Henr. VIII, c. 25J 
1540 Subsidy Act (32 Henr. VIII, c. 50) 
1542 Act for the Attainder of Queen Catherine Howard (33 

Henr. VIII, c. 21) 

1542 Act for the Court of Surveyors (33 Henr. VIII, c. 39) 

1 543 Act concerning the Principality of Wales (34 & 35 Henr 
VIII, c. 26) 

1543 Third Succession Act (35 Henr. VIII, c. i) . 

1547 First Treasons Act of Edw^ard VI (i Edw. VI, c. 12) 

K47 Act for the Dissolution of the Chantries (i Edw. VI, c. 14) 
^^3> First Act of Uniformity (2 & 3 Edw. VI, c. i) 

I ^j'O Act against Superstitious Books and Images (3 & 4 Edw. VI 

c. 10) 

■^J^Second Act of Uniformity (5 & 6 Edw. VI, c. i) 

^5^ Second Treasons Act of Edward VI (5 & 6 Edw. VI, c. 1 1, 

1552 Licensing Act (5 & 6 Edw. VI, c. 25) . 

1553 First Treasons Act of Mary (i Mary, st. i, c. i) . 

f Mary's First Statute of Repeal (i Mary, st. 2, c. 2) . 
Xct concerning the Regal Power (i Mary, st. 3, c. i) 
Act reviving the Heresy Laws (i & 2 P. & M. c. 6) . 
1555 Mary's Second Statute of Repeal (i & 2 P. & M. c. 8) 
1555 Act against Traitorous Words (i & 2 P. & M. c. 9) 
155*5 Second Treasons Act of Mary (1 & 2 P. & M. c. 10) 
Bail Act(i &2 P. &M. c. 13) . 
First Statute of Highways (2 & 3 P. & M. c. 8) 

ct of Supremacy ( I Eliz. c. i) ' • 
Act of Uniformity (i Eliz. c. 2) . 
Firit Treasons Act of Elizabeth (i Eliz. c. 5) . 
Act against Smuggling (i Eliz. c 11) 
Statute of Labour (5 Eliz, c. 4} . 

































Second Statute of Highways (5 Eliz. c. 1 3) . . . 499 

Second Treasons Act of Elizabeth (13 Eliz. c. i) . . 413 

Act against Bulls from Rome (13 Eliz. c. 2j . . . 146 

Tillage Act (13 Eliz. c. 13) 329 

Poor Relief Act (18 Eliz. c. 3) 48 1 

Act against Reconciliation to Rome (23 Eliz. c. I ) . . 150 

Act for the Surety of the Queen's Person (27 Eliz. c. i) . 417 

Act against Jesuits and Seminary Priests (27 Elit. c. 2) . 1 54' 

Act for Redress of Erroneous Judgments (27 Eliz. c. 8) . 343 • 

Act for Appeals (31 Eliz. c. i) 345 

ct against Seditious Sectaries (35 Eliz.' c. i j . . . 197 
Act against Popish Recusants (35 Eliz. c. 2) . . .159' 

Poor Relief Act (39 Eliz. c. 3) 488^ 

Beggars Act (39 Eliz. c. 4) 484' 

Blackmail Act (43 Eliz. c. 1 3j 329 

Clerical Subsidy Act (43 Eliz. c. 1 7) . . . . 616 

Lay Subsidy Act (43 Eliz. c. 1 8) 610 


Privy Council 
Cases from the Council Register (i 540-1 6o33' . 

Star Chamber 

Attorney-General v. Parre and others (fining of juries, 1489) 

Cpoper V. Gervaux and others (unjust tolls, 1493) 

Vale V. Broke (slander, 1493) .... 

Abbot of Eynesham-'y. Harcourt and others (riot, 1503) 

Walterkyn w. Lettice (trespass, 1503) 

Merchant Adventurers t;. Staplers (1504) 

Dobell V. Soley and others (assault, 1533) 

Cappis ti. Cappis (assault, ^. 1547) .... 

Court oj ReqMsts 
Amadas w. Williams and another (1519) . 
Peterson v. Frederick and others (1521) . 
Burges v. Lacy {c. 1 540) ..... 

Stannary Courts 
Trewynard's case in the Court of Chancery (1562) . 
Trewynai-d's case in the Star Chamber (1564) 







Ecclesiastical Courts 

Select cases .......... "362—7 

Cawdrey's case (1591) . 372 

Treason Trials 

Sir Thomas More (1535) 433 

The Duke of Norfolk (1572) 440 

Mary Queen of Scots (1586) 443 

The Earl of Essex (160 1 ) 448 

Privilege of Parliament: Freedom from arrest 

Ferrers's case (1543) j;8o 

Wickham's case (1571) ^83 

Lord Cromwell's case (1572) .' r83 

Smalley's case (1576) ^84 

Digges's case (1584) ^85 

Case of Robert Finnies (1584) ^%^ 

Richard Cook's case (1585} ^86 

Kyrle's case (1585) ^86 

Martin's case (1587) 5B7 / 

Fitzherbert's case (1593) ^88 

Tracy's case (1597) 588 

Hogan's case (1601) ^89 

Privilege of Parliament: The right to commit /-^'^'^ 

Caseof Arthur Hall (158 1 ) Cig^ 

Case of Dr Parry (1584) 593 » 

Case of John Bland (1586) 594 

Privilege of Parliament: Membership 

Russell's case (1550) . . 596 

Nowell's case (1553) 596 

Case of the County of Norfolk (1586) ..... 596 


Anonymous writer {c. i6oo): 

on the Court of Requests . . . . . .311 

Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans (1621}: 

on Henry VII's Council 229 

on the Star Chamber ....... 288 

Henry Barrow (1590): 

on Independency . . . . . . .186 

Nicholas Bownd (1595}: 

on the Sabbatarian Controversy 200 



Sir Julius Caesar {c. 1597): 

on the Court of Requests 
Thomas Cartwright (1572): 

on Church government . 
Sir Edward Coke {c. 1628): 

on the Star Chamber 

on the Court of Requests 

on the Council of the North 

on the Duchy Chamber of Lancaster 

on Treason . . . ■ . ■ . 

on the Court of the Lord Steward 

on the election of the Speaker . 
n Colet, Dean of St Paul's (1.511): 

on clerical abuses 
on Fish (1528): 

on clerical abuses 
hard Hooker (1594-7): 

on Church government . 
William Hudson {c. 1633): 

on the Star Chamber 
William Lambarde: 

on the Justices of the Peace (1581) . 

on the Star Chamber (1591) 

on the Court of Requests (1591) 
Hugh Latimer (1548): 

in criticism of the Bishops 
Martin Marprelate (1588): 

in criticism of the Bishops 
Sir Thomas More: 

on clerical abuses (1528) 

in defence of the Church (1529) 
Francis Osborne (1658): 

on the Star Chamber 
John Rushworth (1680): 

on the Star Chamber 
Sir Thomas Smith (1565): 

on the Star Chamber 

on the Justices of the Peace 

on the procedure of the House of Commons 

on the claim of Privilege . 
Thomas Starkey (1535-6): 

on clerical abuses .... 






















Dissolution of the Monasteries 
IS21 Confession of St Andrew's Priory, Northampton 
Church Settlement of Edward VI 
1550 Ridley's Injunction concerning the Altar 

Elizabeth and the Catholics 
1570 The Bull of Excommunication . . . . . 

Elizabeth and the Puritans 
1563 Puritan Articles in Convocation . . . . . 
1574 Regulations for the Diocese of Lincoln concerning 
Prophesyings ........ 

1576 Archbishop Grindal's Letter concerning Prophesyings 

1577 Quscn Elizabeth's Letter for the suppression of Prophesyings 
1584 Petition of the House of Commons for Ecclesiastical Reform 

The Kin£s Secretary 

1 5 1 8 Letter from Henry VIII to Wolsey (relation of the Secretary 
to the King) ........ 

1 52 1 Letter from Richard Pace to Wolsey (relation of the Secretary 
to the King) ........ 

1526 Ordinances of Eltham ....... 

1 540 Warrant for two Secretaries ...... 

c. 1544 Secretaries' 'Bouche of Court' . . . . . 

c. 1578 Queen Elizabeth's Annual Expenses (stipends of officials) 

1 600 Dr John Herbert's Memorandum (duties of the Secretary) . 

Privy Council 

(rc^^Council Ordinances of Henry VIII 
Ijj^g Council Ordinances of Edward VI 
1 554 Committees of the Council under Mary . 
1558 Committees of the Council under Elizabeth 
1566 Order against Seditious Books 
I j'70 The Oath of a Privy Councillor 
1582, 1589 Orders concerning Private Suits . 
r 600 Dr John Herbert's Memorandum (concerning the distribu 
tion of Council business) ..... 

Star Chamber 
I ro9— 90 The Lords' Diet in the Star Chamber 
1570 Letter from the Council to Sir William Paulet 














1585 Star Chamber Decree concerning Printers 

1597 Letter from Sir John Smyth to Lord Burghley 

1 600 Speech in the Star Chamber ...... 

Court of Requests 
c. 1 5 1 8 Establishment of the Court of Requests at Westminster . 

Council of the North 
1 545 Instructions for the Council of the North 

High Commission 

1559 Ecclesiastical Commission ...... 

584 Lord Burghley's criticism of the Ecclesiastical Commission. 

Justices of the Peace 

[^'90 Commission of the Peace ...... 

1598, 1604 Testimonials for a Sturdy Rogue . 


1 529- 1 601 Interference in Elections 
1 542 Petition for Privilege 

1 548 Passing of the Chantries Act 

1 549 Seymour's case 
1 5j;o Petition for Privilege 

^55^^ 597 Election of a Speaker . 

13^3 The Opening of Parliament . 

1563 Proxies in the House of Lords 

1563-93 The Queen's Marriage and the Succession to the Throne 

1 57 1 First case of Bribery ...... 

1 57 1 Lord Keeper's speech at the Dissolution of Parliament 

1571-89 Privacy of Debate 

1 57 1- 1 601 Ecclesiastical afeirs in Parliament 

757 /2-1601 Attendance at the House of Commons . 
r 1 570 Case of Peter Wentworth 

1576 Punishment of Assault . 

1 58 1 Repression of Disorder 

158 I Fining, of Absentees 

1589 Procedure by writ of Supersedeas 

1593 Answer to the Petition of Privilege 

1593 Divisions in the House of Commons 

1 593- 1 601 Change of tone in later Parliaments 

1597 Subpoenas from the Chancery and the Star Chamber 



















1597 The Chaplain of the House of Commons 
1 60 1 Answer to the Petition of Privilege 
1 601 Trade Questions in Parliament 


149 1 The Benevolence of 149 1 
1523 The Subsidy of 1523 . 
1525 The 'Amicable Loan' . 
1556 The Loan of 1556 
1593 Subsidy Debate of 1593 





*/ The following are the full titles and editions of the works referred 

to in an abbreviated form in the foot-notes. 
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Andrews, W. Bygone Lincolnshire (1891). 

Anson, Sir W. R. The Law and Custom of the Constitution: vol. i, Parlia- 
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\.RBER, E. The English Scholar's Library (1880-4). 

Irchaeologia. . .{ijjo— ). 

Vrchbold, W. a. J. The Somerset Religious Houses (Cambridge Historical 
Essays, No. 6, 1892). 

\.scHROTT, P. F. The English Poor Law System ... trans. H. Preston- 
Thomas (ist edition, 1888). 

Jacon, Francis. Works, ed. J. Spedding (1857-9), 7 vols. 

Baldwin, J. F. The King's Council in England during the Middle Ages 

See also Select Cases before the King's Council, 1243-1482, ed. 
I. S. Leadam and J. F. Baldwin (Selden Society, 191 8). 
Barnard, F. P. Companion to English History: The Middle Ages (1902). 
A revised editioni under the title Mediaeval England is about to be 
published by the Oxford University Press. 
Bateson, Miss M. Preface to the Camden Miscellany, vol. ix (1893). 
Beard, C. The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. . .(Hibbert Lec- 
tures, 1883). 
Beard, C. A. The Office of Justice of the Peace in England. . .(Columbia 

University Studies, vol. xx, no. i, 1904). 
Benham, E. The Prayer Book of Queen Elizabeth. 
BiRT, H. N. The Elizabethan Religious Settlement (1907). 
I Bradford, Miss G. (Mrs Temperley). Proceedings in the Court of the Star 
Chamber in the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII (Somerset 
Record Society, vol. 27, 191 1). 
Brewer, J. S. The Reign of Henry VIII. . .to the death of Wolsey 

(1884), 2 vols. 
Bullarium Romanum (1727—53), 18 vols. 
Burn, J. S. The High Commission (1865). 

' The Star Chamber (1870). 

BuscH, W. England under the Tudors, vol. i (Henrv VII): trans. Alice M. 

Todd (1895). 
Caesar, Sir Julius. The Ancient State ... of the Court of Requests (1597). 
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry VII, 1494— 1509 (1916). 

State Papers, Domestic [contracted as Cal. S. P. Dom.] 

Cambridge Modern History [contracted as C.M.H.] 
Cardwell, E. The two Books of Common Prayer set forth ... in the 
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Cardwell, E. Documentary Annals of the Reformed Church of England, 

1546-1716 (1839), 2 vols. 
Catholic Encyclopedia (1907), 15 vols. 
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Collectanea Anglo-Praemonstratensia, ed. F. A. Gasquet (Camden Society, 

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CouLTON, G. G. Medieval Studies (2nd revised edition, 19 15}. 
Craies, W. F. a Treatise on Statute Law (edition of 1907). 
Dasent, Sir J. R. Acts of the Privy Council of England, 1542- 

(1890- ). 
Denton, W. England in the Fifteenth Century (1888). 
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Lords and House of Commons throughout the whole reign of Queen 

Elizabeth. . .(1682: edition of 1693). 
DiCEY, A. V. The Privy Council (Arnold Prize Essay, i860: 2nd 

edition, 1887), 

The Law of the Constitution (ist edition, 1885). 

Dictionary of National Biography (ist edition, 1885— ) [contracted as 

Dixon, R. W. History of the Church of England, 1529-70 (i 878-1902}, 

6 vols. 
DowELL, S. A History of Taxation and Taxes in England (and edition, 

1888), 4 vols. 
English Historical Review [contracted as E.H.R.] 
Fisher, H. A. L, The History of England, 1 485-1 547 (The Political 

History of England, vol. v, 1906). 
FORTESCUE, Sir John. The Governance of England. . .(147 1-6: ed. C. 

Plummer, 1885). 
Foss, E. The Judges of England (1848-64), 9 vols. 
Freeman, E. A. The History of the Norman Conquest (3rd edition, 1877), 

3 vols. 
Frere, W. H. The Use of Sarum (i 898). 
The Principles of Religious Ceremonial (Oxford Library of Practical 

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Friedmann, p. Anne Boleyne. . .(1884), 2 vols. 

Froude, J. A. The Reign of Elizabeth (Everyman Library, 191 1), 5 vols. 
Fuller, Thomas. The Church History of Britain (1655: edition of 1837J, 

3 vols. 
Gairdner, J. LoUardy and the Reformation in England (1908- ), 4 vols. 
Gardiner, S. R. Reports of cases in the Courts of Star Chamber and 

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Gasquet, F. A. Henry VIII and the English Monasteries (edition of 

1 889}, 2 vols. 
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Gee, H. and Hardy, W. J. Documents illustrative of English Church 

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Gneist, R. The History of the English Constitution, trans. P. A. AshjKorth 

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Anne (19 17). 
Hall, Edward. Henry VIII (1542: ed. C. Whibley, 1904), 2 vols. 
Hallam, Henry. The Constitutional History of England. . .(1827: 

7th edition, 1854J, 3 vols. 
Harcourt, L. W. V. His Grace the Steward and Trial of Peers (1907). 
Harrison, William. Description of England (i577)> ^^- ^- J- Furnivall 

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of Queen Elizabeth, ed. J. Bruce (Camden Society, 1840). 
EARN, W. E. The Government of England (2nd edition, 1887). 
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— The Dissolution of the Monasteries as illustrated by the suppression 

of the Religious Houses of Staffordshire (19 10). 
HoLDSwoRTH, W. S. A History of English Law (1903), 3 vols. 
Holinshed, Raphael. Chronicles (1577: edition of 1807— 8), 6 vols. 
Hudson, William. Treatise of the Court of Star Chamber (written c. 

1633: printed in Collectanea Juridica, 1792J. 
Jacob, Giles. Law Dictionary (1729: 7th edition, 1756). 
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Jusserand, J. A. A. J. English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, trans. 

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A.D. 1485— 1603 

The Foundations of the Tudor Monarchy 

In his treatise The Governance of England}- ^ Sir John Fortescue, who lived 
under Henry VI, recommends a policy which is not unlike that adopted and 
pursued with striking abihty by Henry VII, the first of the Tudor kings. 
T he two main ev fl" prpwnt tr. VnrtfKirnc^ p iind are the power of the great 
no BIes and the po verty of t he Crown. He entitles -one of his chapters, 'Here 
he sheweth the peFllS tliat may come to the King by overmighty subjects'^; 
another, 'The harm that cometh of a King's poverty'^; and a third, 'How 
gre^j t good will ^row of the firm endowing of the Crow n.' * 

As Fortescue's editor points out, ' M any of the lords were. . . enormous ly 
rich. Their estates were concentrated in fiewer hands, and the lands o^ a 
man like Warwick represented the accumulations of two or three wealthy 
families. Th ey engrossed offices as g rcpHily p" lanHg, their pensions and an- 
nuities exhausted the revenues of the Crown, they made large fortunes out 
of the French wars which drained the royal exchequer, and they were among 
the chief wool-growers and sometimes wool-merchants in the kingdom.'^ 
They were rich enough to keep on foot small armies of retainers, and their 
influence in their localities was sufficient to enable them to control the 
nomination of local officers, and to pervert to their own ends the administra- 
tion of justice. The justices of the peace and even the royal judges could be 
corrupted, juries bribed or intimidated, and claims to property maintained 
by force. Thus came about the condition of things described in the Paston 
Letters, in which the law was powerless against great offenders, and open 
violence reigned supreme®. 

For this state of things Fortescue has remedies to propose, tt is irnportan t 
that 'the King' s livelihood, above such rever -'^g " s "t^a^' ^" -ipTTirnnri f i i. hi'iv 
ordi nary chatS fes. be greater tnan tne livelihood ot the greatest lord in Eng- 
land,'' for it IS necessary 'that the King have great possessions and peculiar 
livelihood for his own surety, namely, when any of his lords shall happen to 
be so excessively great as there might thereby grow peril to his estate. For 
certainly there may no greater peril grow to a prince than to have a subject 

^ Hummer's edition. The full titles of the works referred to in the footnotes are 
printed on pp. xviii to zzii above. 

2 Ch. ix. ' Ch. v. * Ch. xix. ^ Fortescue, p. 17. 

* The Paston Letters assume that it is useless to institute legal proceedings unless 
the sheriff and the jury can be secured beforehand. For instance, 'extorcious amercia- 
ments' were taken of the Prior of Westacre; he was also robbed of 'a flock of hogs,' 
and his man was set 'openly and shamefully' and with 'great oppressirai' in the 
stocks. But 'of these,' the letter-writer goes on to say, 'and of many more worse, it 
is a great folly to labour in as for any indictments but if ye be right sure of the 
sheriff's office' {Letters, 1, 191). ' p. 128. 

T.D. I 



equipollent to himself.'^ To this end there should be 'a general resumption, | 
made by authority of Parliament,'^ of lands alienated or given away by the^ 
Crown, and the establishment of 'a worshipful and a notable council' which 
could prevent fresh alienations and control future rewards. The council vyas 
no longer to be com posed 'of great princes and of the greatest lords oL the ^ 
land ^?Mt almost entirely of persons chosen because ot theiFbusinps cap a- j 
c ityC ^l jie King sh^^lll<^ aJso reclaim the patronage of the Crown and a epoint i 
to all offices himself...and no man should 'have any office of the^s g ift, '< 
but \^e be fir-ai- swnf " «-hot hp ic Bprxra nf to none other man^ or will se rve any 
other man or take his clothing or fee while he serveth the King.'^ The 
accumulation of offices is to be prevented, fnr jin man ig tn hav e 'more offic es 
t han one, except thq «- the Ttin^:'" Vii-g»Kr«.n may have two offices.'® 'And 
"'Tien the King, by the means aforesaid or otherwise, hath gotten again his 
^elihood, if then it would like his most noble Grace to establish, and as 
ho saith, amortise the sahie livelihood to his Crown, so as it may never be 
ened therefrom without the assent of his Parliament, which then would 
; as a new foundation of his crown, he shall be thereby the greatest founder 
the world.'' The Crown will then be endowed, as if it were a bishopric, 
1 abbey, or a university, and the King will no longer have overmighty sub- 
:ts 'equipollent to himself.' 
We are scarcely justified in supposing that Henry VII consciously ap- 
propriated Fortescue's ideas, but circumstances, aided by his own policy, 
placed him in the position where Fortescue had desired the King to be. The 
conditi ons at his accession favoured a king who sought to build up a s trong 
mona rjTiy and w ent to work m the ri ght way . There had been a changciff* 
the balance ol' puwu wiihiii die kingdom, lor the great houses had bee^ 
exhausted and impoverished under the economic strain of the Civil Wars. 
And the impoverishment of the houses had been associated with the enrich- 
ment of the Crown, for both Yorkists and Lancastrians had confiscated the 
estates of their respective traitors and the gains of both dynasties had fallei? 
to the Tudors. The humiliation of the baronage had left the Church in 
isolation, and a secularised Papacy could no longer give it effective support. 
Finally, the Crown was now steadily supported by the people at large, for 
a strong monarchy vras a guarantee against a recrudescence of private war, 
and private war interfered in all kinds of ways with their common everyda^v 
happiness. The nation as a whole was weary of dynastic quarrels and eager 
for internal peace; and moreover it was now that Englishmen were finding 
new opportunities for commerce, and were beginning to open up the new 
worlds that lay on the other side of the sea. 

Given these favourable conditions, Henry VII was the kind of idng 
who could appreciate them, and use them for the building up of a strong 
monarchy. He was 'one of the best sort of wonders,' says Bacon, 'a wonder 

^P-.i30;. * P- 143- *P-H5- ^ 

* 'zii spiritual men and su temporal men, of the wisest and best disposed men 
that can be found in all the parts of this land' (p. 146). These were to have' a per- 
manent tenure, and to them were to be added four lords spiritual and four lords 
temporal to be chosen every year. 

5 p. 153. 'Clothing' is a reference to 'livery': see p. 8». below. 

*PI53- 'P-IS4- 


for wise men'^; and he classes him with Louis XI and Ferdinand of Aragon 
as 'the three Magi of kings of those ages.'^ Bacon was not a contemporary^ 
but Bishop Fisher, in a sermon preached on the occasion of the King's funeral, 
is quite as appreciative. ' His politic wisdom in governance it was singular; 
his wit always quick and ready; his reason pithy and substantial; his memory 
fresh and holding; his experience notable; his counsels fortunate and taken 
by wise deliberation; his speech gracious in diverse languages; his person 
goodly and amiable, his natural complexion of the purest mixture; his issue 
feir and in good number. . .his dealing in times of perils and dangers was 
cold and sober with great hardiness.'* He was deemed abroad one of the 
wisest of European princes; and his policy was his own — it was not minister- 
made. 'He was of an high mind, and loved his own will and his own viray; 
as one that revered himself, and would reign indeed, . . . not admitting any 
near or full approach either to his power or to his secrets.'* And, like the 
other members of his house, he knew how to establish and maintain full 
personal control of the business of government. ' He was a prince sad, serious, 
and full of thoughts and secret observations; and full of notes and memorials 
of his own hand, especially touching persons; as whom to employ, whom to 
reward, whom to inquire of, whom to beware of, what were the dependencies, 
what were the factions, and the like; keeping (as it were) a journal of his 
thoughts.'^ This industrious, skilful, secretive statesman is the founder of the 
Tudor character; and when Henry VIII, Mary, and Elizabeth gave so 
much time to the mastery of the principles and details of government, &ey 
were only following in his steps. 

The policy of such a king would be characterised by precision, effective-] 
ness, a careful adaptation of adequate means to an end clearly conceived and 
well understood. Henr y VII perceived that what England needed in his day \ 
was a n eiScientcentr^administration controlled by a strnnp; and wealthy i 
roJ^Sl' house; and he set his policy steadily in this direction. It is true that \ 
avarice grew upon him with advancing years,, but the experience of the 
Lancastrians had shewn that royal power aepended upon wealth, and behind 
his 'miserliness' lay a principle of policy. Hfe aimed at making the Crown 
richer than any noble or group of nobles. AgJortescue had advised, the re 
wa s a resumption by Parl iam entary authority of alienated Crown lands". 

benevolences, heavy Compositions trom royal wards, the revival of dis- 
used feudal tenures, th e exaction of large sums for the removal of outlawry 

in pers onal actions, fine^ for breaches ot obsolete statutes, the systemati c 
pr ^in S: o fleiJal IKdmiLaliliKS a^siilltJl in div iduals^ a wholesale abuse of th e 
ordi narv p rocess of kw all di c iDc iiiLlli odSTsteadily and systematically "pr ac- 
tise3, brought vast sums into tne King's treasury. 1 he rebellions of the reign 
also served to enrich the Crown with forfeitures. 'The less blood he drew,' 

says Bacon, 'the more he took of treasure'^; an d^ so treason became a pro - 
fit able part of the ropl revenue But all this was not cflmmail gl-eedfit * 
was statesmanship pursuing an intelligible purpose. Empson and Dudley, 

1 fForks, vi, 238. * li. vi, 244. 

3 Quoted from Tie English Works of Join Fisher in H. A. L. Fisher, Polit. 
Hist. p. 125. 

« ^orix, vi, 240. ^ lb. y\,2^'i, 

« Fisher, Polit. Hist. p. 126. ^ Works, vi, 239. 


the 'ravening wolvK,' were not simpl)^ the agente of an extortioner; they 
were impoverishing the great houses with a definite end in view. 

In another way also Empson and Dudley stand for a dehberate policy 
foreshadowed by ynrtpspiifv^-thp. PYrliisinn of the noble houses from d ie 
?'^'^im^ti2nr^T}^ry VTTj n^ f-' " ^^ «^« ableto do so, employed on ly 
ch urg&ien and lawyers; and ch urchmen were cheap, tor they could be 
paicf by ecclesiastical promotion. 'He chose his ministers from churchmen, 
and made bishops of his ministers.'^ T y leading men of the reign werejot 
th ttJ^eat prinrt-fi' and 'the greatest loijcl?-of the la ndlreferred to by Fort^- 
rii pgj but rhurrhmen like Morton, Fox, and Warham, or laymen of the 
official class, such as Sir Reginald Bray, the son of a physician. Sir Thomas 
Lovell, whose mother was a Norwich alderman's daughter, or Sir Edward 
Poynin^, the son of Jack Cade's carver and sword-bearer. Dudley was at 
any rate 'of a good family,'^ but he was not a great noble, and Bacon's 
phrase concerning Empson, that he was 'the son of a sieve-maker,'* indicates 
his antecedents although it may not be literally true. T li£ g rowth of this 
rla« nf royal nffln'akj pnfiVply dependent upon the ki ng, and S 


as his 

pro i;gction'ajgainst the revival in the government of the power of the h^es,. 
is ^fact A f;HpraVi1p I'mpnrfa hrp m the 1 udor period^^.Tii£ 

tho pr^lilf^ ^{p'Tit ■' r"Hfy which they hated was cnns piWry, but against 
successful canspiracy the king wa s protected byj i ja nffin'als, wh n first, en- 
tra tipEdi m tiaiuji ' i fui liim and then secu red theircondemnation under the 
foi^s of law. This was made all the easier by Henry VII's secret service, 
an institution which Bacon is disposed to justify. 'As for his secret spiak 
which he did employ both at home and abroad, by them to discover what 
practices and conspiracies were against him, surely his case required it; he 
had such moles perpetually working and casting to undermine him.'^ This 
system passed as an heirloom to his successors. It was of the greatest service 
both to Henry VIII and to the government of Edward VI; and it was 
carried to high efficiency by Burghley and Walsingham, who were able by 
its aid to protect the life of Elizabeth against the assassination plots by which 
it was so continually threatened. 

The reign of Henry VII suffers by contrast with the reigns that suc- 
ceeded it, and its importance is sometimes underrated. There is little in the 
period that is stirring and picturesque; the story is confused and difficult to 
understand; Mid there is a remarkable deficiency of the original material of 
history. But if the reign is studied from the constitutional standpoint it will 
be seen that the massive foundations of the Tudor monarchy are being 
silently but well and truly laid. The great position of Henry VIII and his. 
successors is, in piart at any rate, of the nature of an inheritance. 

Hen ry^ VII had done mi ifh tn pat^hUcVi -. n^'^y jradition for the Eng li^ 
mnnarrhy gnri t^ggi- it in ij pio ^e apart. He arranged royal marriages to his 
children instead of allowing them to marry among the EnglSh nobilit;^and 
although a king careful of money he deliberately spent money in keeping up 
a splendid court. Thus 'the Crown withdrew to a position of splendid isola- 
tion.'® But he was hampered by unpopularity and by a defective title, and he 

^ Stubbs, Lectures, p. 342. ^ p_ j^j_ 

* Bacon, fForks, vi, 217. * H. 6 /i. vi, 241. 

* Temperley, p. 249; see also note on p. 12 below. 


had to face a series of rebellions before his authority was assured. For 
Henry VIII these difficulties scarcely existed. His title was never questioned, 
for he was 'of the progeny of the race of kings,' and in his person the York- 
ist and Lancastrian claims were blended. Bacon in one of his Fragments notes 
of his accession that there was now 'no such thing as any great or mighty 
subject who might eclipse or overshade the imperial power.'^ And the begin- 
ning of the new King's reign is ' the birthday of loyalty, in the sense of per* 
sonal devotion to the Crown.' ^ Foreign amba^dors in their private des- 
patches to their governments had no motive for flattering Henry VIII, 
but they comment with something approaching enthusiasm upon his beauty 
of person, his horsemanship, his skill as a jouster and tennis-player, and his 
kriowledge of music and lang]uages'. This young, gracious, magnificent 
figure struck the iniagination of his subjects, ahd the sovereign was no longer 
unpopular. Thus although the foundations of the Tudor monarchy werar 
laid by his father, Henry VIII made his own contribution to their stabilitjj 
and permanence. 

The constitutional documents of the reign of Henry VII* which are im- 
portant for the present purpose are the Star Chamb er Sta tute, th e Statute o f 
T reas on, the Act concerning Corporation'^ and the Statute of Liveries. 'I'lie 
firsTof these is printed in another section [p. 258 J; it snouid nowever be 
noted here that the preamble, irtdiciating the offences and abuses, with which 
the persons named in the statute were specially commissioned to deal, enu- 
merates exactly those which were characteristic of the social disorder de- 
scribed in the Paston Letters and alluded to by Fortescue — 'unlawful main- 
tenances, giving of liveries, signs, and tokens, and retainders by indenture/ 
'untrue demeanings of sheriffs in making of panels, and other untrue re- 
turns,' 'taking of money by juries,' and 'great riots and unlawful assemblies.' 
Th £_statute is intended to furnish fresh facilities for dealing effectively wit h 
disacdei;, and cleanng up the troublesome situation which a period of civil 
war had created. 

( i) Statute of Treason, 1495 

This statute ordained, as Bacon puts it, 'that no person that did assist 
in arms or otherwise the king for the time being, should after be im- 
peached therefore or attainted . . . but if any such act of attainder did hap to 
be made, it should be void and of none effect.'^ Henry VII took theprecaution 
of excluding from the benefits of the Act all who should in future desert 
himself, but the intention was to do away with t^ie dynastic proscriptions of 
t he Civil Wars by protectin g from the vengeance of th ** '^'""g </"/"«*•<', yf^m 
he came to his own again, those who adhered to the king de facto and the 
existing social order. It vras 'a kind of eirenikon, founded upon the roi^ 
practical common-sense which generally commends itself to the English 
nation.'^ The gtatute has been described as 'the earliest re rnfrnitinn to be 
fnn n rl in Fnj^lnh I r nv nf n pnnrili l f' mtfprpnrp hp t ween the person and the 
nfi^cp rf th" ^ingj thmigh nothing can be more vague and indirect than the 
way in which the distinction is hinted at.'^ 

1 Works, vi, 270. * Goldwin Smith, i, 297. 

* Pollard, Henry Fill, p. 39; cf. also Factors, p. 89. 

* See also Pollard, Sources, ii, 3-208. 

5 Works, vi, 1 59. But see note on p. 6 below. 

* Fisher, Polit. Hist. p. 63. ' Stephen, quoted in Hoki»worth, iii, 359. 


An Act that no person going with the King to the Wars 
shall be attaint of treason 
The King our Sovereign Lord, calling to his remembrance the 
duty of allegiance of his subjects of this his realm, and that 
they by reason of the same are bounden to serve their Prince and 
Sovereign Lord for the time being in his Wars for the defence of 
him and the land against every rebellion, power, and might 
reared against him, and with him to enter and abide in service in 
battle if the case so require; And that for the same service what 
fortune ever fall by chance in the same battle against the mind 
a,nd weal of the Prince, as in this land sometime past hath been 
seen, That it is not reasonable but against all laws, reason, and 
good conscience that the said subjects going with their Sovereign 
Lord in Wars, attending upon him in his person, or being in 
other places by his commandment within this land or without, any 
thing should lose or forfeit for doing their true duty and service 
of allegiance : It be therefore ordained, enacted, and established. . . 
that from henceforth no manner of person nor persons, whatsoever 
he or they be, that attend upon the King and Sovereign Lord of 
this land for the time being in his person, and do him true and 
faithful service of allegiance in the same, br be in other places by 
his tdmmandment, in his Wars within this land or without, that 
for the same deed and true service of allegiance he or they be in 
no wise convict or attaint of high treason nor of other offences for 
that cause by Act of Parliament or otherwise by any process of 
law, whereby he or any of them shall mowe^ forfeit life, lands, 
tenements, rents, possessions, hereditaments, goods, chattels, or 
any other things, but to be for that deed and service utterly dis- 
charged of any vexation, trouble, or loss; And if any Act or ActiS 
or other process of the law hereafter thereupon for the same 
happen to be made contrary to. this ordinance, that then that Act 
or Acts or other processes of the law, whatsoever they shall be, stand 
^nd be utterly void^ 

.; II. Provided alway that no person nor persons shall take any 
bienefit or advantage by this Act which shall hereafter decline 
from his or their said allegiance. 

u Henr. VII, c. 1 : Statutes of the Realm, ii, 568. 

* See note on p. 24 below. 

* Bacon points but that this provision is valueless: 'But the force and obligation 
of this law^ was in itself illusory, as to the latter part of it (by a precedent act of 
Parliament to bind or frustrate a future). For a supreme and absolute power cannot 
conclude itself, nor can that which is in nature revocable be made fiied; no more 
than if a man should appoint or declare by his will that if he made any later will it 
should be void.' But he adds the astute remark: 'But things that do not bind may 
satisfy for the time' {JFarks, vi, 160). 


(2) Act concerning Corporations, 1504 

Bacon says of Henry VII: 'In that part, both of justice and policy, 
which is the most durable part, and cut as it were in brass or marble— the 
making of good laws — he did excel'; and the new commercial development 
of Tudor England in particular is suggested by a mass of commercial and 
trade legislation^- Among these statutes the Act concerning Corporations is 
of constitutional rather than economic importance, for it asserts the right o; 
the central government to complete industrial control.'The exactions of the 
guilds, called by Bacon 'fraternities in evil,'^ had been a principal cause of the 
decay of the towns. These exactions were now to pass under the supervision 
and limitation of the government. The statute may therefore be regarded as | 
a contribution to the Tudor policy of asserting in all spheres the supremacy | 
of the central authority. 

The preamble recites an Act of 1 437^ ' which Act is now expired, and since 
the expiring of the same divers and many ordinance^ have been made by many 
and divers private bodies corporate within cities, towns, and boroughs, con- 
trary to the King's prerogative, his laws, and to the common weal of his 
subjects'; and the substance of the statute re-enacts the earlier provisions 
with an important difference. The Act of 1437 ^^^ subjected guild ordinances 
to the review of the local administration — 'the justices of the peace or the 
chief governors of cities'; the Act of 1504 brings into operation the central 

De privatis et illicitis statutis non faciendis 

...Be it therefore ordained, established, and enacted... that 
no Masters, Wardens, and Fellowships of crafts or mysteries, nor 
any of them, nor any rulers of guilds or fraternities, take upon 
them to make any acts or ordinances, nor to execute any acts or 
ordinances by them here afore made, in disheritance or diminu- 
tion of the prerogative of the King, nor of other, nor against the 
common profit of the people, but if the same acts or ordinances 
be examined and approved by the; Chancellor, Treasurer of Eng- 
land, and Chief Justices of either Bench, or three of them, or 
before both the Justices of Assizes in their circuit or progress in 
that shire where such acts or ordinances be made, upon the pain 
of forfeiture of £j{.o for every time that they do the contrary*... 
19 Henr. VII, c. 7: Statutes of the Realm, iiy 652. 

(3 L Statute of Liveries, 1504 

Thj ^ evils connected with, Ijv^ry and maintenance and t he keeping o f 
retai neiylind their origm al source in" the Hundred Years War with France. 

1 An account of Henry Vli's commercial policy is given in Fisher, pp. 96-109; 
see also Temperley, ch. v. ^ ^orh, vi, 22^. * 1 5 Henr. VI, c. 6. 

* The Act also contains a clause forbidding corporations to make acts or ordi- 
nances 'to restrain any person or persons to sue to the King's Highness or to any of 
his Courts.' 


From the time of Stephen onwards the feudal levies of the realm had been 
frequently supplemented \iy mercenaries drawn from the adventured of 
Europe. The forty days of feudal service did not meet the case of a regular 
campaign oversea, and it was necessary for government to fall back on the 
professional soldier. In the reign of Edward III the Crown adopted the 
practice of contracting — or in the technical phrase^ 'indenting'^" — ^with great 
lords and others, for the supply of men. By a further development of the 
system smaller men Commanding levies of their own would bind themselves 
bv indentures to place themselves and their men at the disposal of a greater , 
lord in peace and war. Thus the military power at the disposal of a wealthy i 
lord might be very great. As long as this military power was employed 
abroad it raised ho dangerous questions, but when the English were driven 
from France, and the country was filled with disbanded soldiers, ready to 
indent or be indented, the way was prepared for the growth of the periloils 
practice of keeping retainers. These wore their lord's badge^; they received 
their lord's livery3 and enjoyed his hospitality*; they were paid wages in 
money, varying from a mark to ;£4 or ^£5 a year according to their services 
and standing; and they could rely upon their lord's protection in the courts 
of law from the legal consequences of crimes committed in his servio^. 

Grea t lords who thus controlled mi litar y pow er were u nder a sta nding 
f^rr^^t^nr^f, f^ ^,»,pi^y ;«■ fn pr ivate war or m othe r '"''''^ f^f^nrAanre' In 141 1 
Sir Robert Tirwhit^ himself a royal judge, with 500 men at his back, set 
an ambush for Lord Roos, with whom he had a dispute about common of 
pasture, and when called in question^ pleaded in his deifence diat he did not 
know that he had broken the law*. In 1455 the Earl of Devonj at the head 
of 4000 foot and 800 horse, plundered the cathedral at Exeter, heid the 
canons to rkrisoirl, and committed 'many other great and heinous incon- 
veniences.'' In 1469 Sir John Fastolf s castle bf Caister, which was claimed 
by the Duke of Norfolk, was besieged by him in due form with a train of 
artillery and a force of 3000. men. The Fasten Letters^ give an account of 
the progress of the si^e, which lasted.for five weeks. At the end of that time 
provisions began to rail, and the place was 'sore broken with guns,' so the 
garrison surrendered and the Duke acquired the property. No mention is 
made of any appeal to the courts of law; yet the claimant who adopted this 
method of enforcing his ri^ts was Earl Marshal, Constable of the Tower 
of London, and a KLnight of the Garter*. 

The Statute of Liveries of 1 504 is only one in a series of statutes'^" 
. 1 See Plnmmer's Introduction to Fortescue, 7%f Govenance of England, p. 15. 
2 The bear and the ragged staff, the badge of the Kingmaker, is still boriie by 
the inmates of the Leycester Hospi^ at Warwick. 

* 'Livery' was whatever was delivered to the retainer — ^livery of food or livery 
of ale, as well as livery of doth. The term was not limited to a reward for the service 
of retainers; for instance litigants sometimes paid counsel in kind by livery of cloth 
and robes (Holdsworth, ii, 412). 

* When "Warwick the Kingmaker came to London, six oxen were eaten at a 
break&st, and there was free food for all comers (Holinshed, iii, 301). 

* This is what is technically known as 'maintenance.' 

« Holdsworth, ii, 347. 7 Denton, p. 275. 

8 ii, pp. ilv, 1-liii, 371 ff. s Denton, p. 299. 

^^ See note on p. 9 below. 


de ^f^qj i fn p^if i\r>wn pfiyaff y^ar^ their number being evidence, not of the 
vigoUr of the law but of its ineffectiveness. Henry VII's Act inflicts a 
penalty upon persons giving or taking livery, and by making indentures of 
retainers void it destroys the le^l foundation upon which the system was 
based. The Act was limited to the life-time of the king, but larger causes 
were at work to end the abuse. The Tudor period supplied new outlets for 
lawless energy in the development of commerce and maritime enterprise, in 
the opening up of the New World, and finally in the war with Spain; and 
the retainers of the fifteenth century became the adventurers and mariner- 
pirates of the sixteenth. There were also new openings for the employment 
of capital, and great lords who had once spent their substance in the profuse 
hospitality which kept the private armies together, now found that they 
had something better to do with their money. Thus the problem of liveries 
solved itself. 

De Retentionibus illicitis 

The King our Sovereign Lord calleth to his remembrance 
that where before this time divers statutes^ for punishment of 
such persons that give or receive liveries, or that retain any person 
or persons or be retained with any person or persons.., have 
been made and established, and that notwithstanding divers per- 
sons have taken upon them some to give and some to receive 
liveries and to retain and be retained... and little or nothing is 
or hath been done for the puiiishment of the offenders in that 
behalf, Wherefore our Sovereign Lord the King, by the advice 
[etc.]... hath ordained, stablished, and enacted that all his 
statutes and ordinances afore this time made against such as make 
unlawful retainers and such as so be retained, or that give or re- 
ceive livery, be plainly observed and kept and put in due execution. 

n. And over that, our said Sovereign Lord the King ordain- 
eth, stablisheth, and enacteth by the said authority, that no person, 
of what estate or degree or condition he be,... privily or openly 
give any livery or sign or retain any person, other than such as he 
giveth household wages unto without fraud or colour, or that he 
by his manual servant^ or his officer or man learned in the one 
law or in the other^, by any writing, oath, promise, livery, sign, 
badge, token, or in any other manner wise unlawfully retain; 
and if any do the contrary, that then he run and fall in the pain 
and forfeiture for every such livery and sign, badge or token, so 
accepted, iocs., and the taker and acceptor of every such livery, 
badge, token, or sign, to forfeit and pay for every such livery and 
sign, badge or token, so accepted, iooj., and for every month that 

1 Statutes were passed in 1399, 1401, 1406, 1411, 1414, 1429, and 1468; see 
Fortescue, pp. 27—8. 

* I.e. a. servant who works with his hands. 

* /. e. learned either in the civil or in the canon law. 


he useth or keepeth such livery or sign, badge or token, after 
that he hath taken or accepted the same, to forfeit and pay iooj., 
and every person that [shall] by oath, writing, or promise, or m 
any other wise unlawfully retain, privily or openly, and also everjl 
such person that is so retained, to forfeit and pay for every sucfe, 
time I005., and as well every person that so retaineth as every 
person that is so retained to forfeit and pay for every month that 
such retainer is continued, lOOs — 

III. And also it is ordained and enacted that no person of 
what estate [or] condition he be... name or cause himself to be 
named servant or retained to or with any person, or buy or cause 
to be bought or wear any gown as a livery gown, sign, or token of 
the suit or livery of any person, or any badge, token, or sign of 
any person, upon pain of forfeiture for every da,y or tinie that he 
doth, 40J., and also to have imprisonment by the discretion of the 
judges or persons afore whom he shall be thereof convicted, and 
th^t without bail or mainprize^. 

^P TT ^ * * ■«• 

, VI. Moreover the King our Sovereign Lord, by the advice, 
assent, and authority aforesaid, hath ordained, stablished, and en- 
acted, that every person that will sue or complain before the Chan- 
cellor of England or the Keeper of the King's Great Seal in the 
Star Chamber^, or before the King in his Bench, or before the 
King and his Council attending upon his most royal person 
wheresoever he be, so that there be 3 of the same Council at the 
least of the which two shall be lords spiritual or temporal, against 
any person or persons offending or doing against the form of this 
ordinance or any other of the premises, be admitted by thei;- dis- 
cretion to give information... And that upon the same all such 
persons be called by writ, subpoena, privy seal, or otherwise, And 
the said Chancellor or Keeper of the Seal, the King in his Bench^ 
or the said Council to have power to examine all persons de- 
fendants and every of them, as well by oath as otherwise, and to 
adjudge him or them convict or attaint, as well by such examina- 
tion as otherwise, in such penalties as is aforesaid as the case shall 
require;. . .And also the same party, plaintiff, or informer shall 
have such reasonable reward of that that by his complaint shall 
grow to the King as shall be thought reasonable by the discretion 
of the said Chancellor or Keeper of the: Great Seal,, Justices, pr 
Council. , 

VII. And also it is enacted by the said authority that the said 
1 The old law drew a subde distinction between mainprize and bail; see Jacob, 
Law Dictionary, under 'mainprize.' ^ See p. 249 below. 


Chancellor or Keeper of the Great Seal, Justices, or Council have 
full authority and power by this Statute to do send by writ, sub- 
poena, privy seal, warrant, or otherwise by their discretion, for any 
person or persons offending or doing contrary to the premises, 
without any suit or information made or put before them or any 
of them, and the same person or persons to examine by oath or 
otherwise by their discretions, and to adjudge all such persons as 
shall be found guilty in the premises by verdict, confession, ex- 
amination, proofs, or otherwise, in the said forfeitures and pains 
as the case shall require, as though they were condemned therein 
after the course of the common law, and to commit such offenders 
to ward and to award execution accordingly. 

VIII. ...And that all manner of writings or indentures 
between any person herebefore made, whereby any person is re- 
tained contrary to this Act, that indenture or writing, as touching 
any such retainder only and no further, be void and of none effect : 
This Act to take his effect and beginning for such retainers and 
offences and other misdemeanours as shall be done, had, or made 
contrary to the form of this Act after the Feast of Pentecost next 
coming only, and the same Act to continue and endure during the 
life of our said Sovereign Lord the King that now is and no longer. 
* * * * * * 

X. Provided also that this Act extend not to the punishment 
of any person or persons the which by the virtue of the King's 
placard^ or writing, signed with his hand and sealed with his 
privy seal or signet, shall take, appoint, or indent with any persons 
to do and to be in a readiness to do the King service in War, or 
otherwise at his commandment, so that they that shall have such 
placard or writing for their part use not by that retainer, service, 
attendance, or any other wise the person or persons that they 
shall take, appoint, or indent with, nor the persons that so do in- 
dent to do the King service use not themselves for their part in 
doing service or giving attendance to them that shall have author- 
ity by reason of the King's writing to take, appoint, or indent 
with them, in any thing concerning the said Act otherwise than 
shall be comprised in the same the King's placard or writing, and 
that placard or writing to endure during the King's pleasure and 
no longer. 

XI. Provided also that this Act extend not to any livery to be 
given by any Serjeants at the law at their making or creation, or 
to be given by any executors at the interment of any person for 

^ /. e. warrant or licence. * 


any mourning array, or to be given by any guild, fraternity, oi 
craft corporate, or by the Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of Lon- 
don, or by any other mayor or sheriff or chief officers of any city^ 
borough, town, or port of this realm of England, during the 
time of his office and by reason of the same, or to be given by any 
abbot or prior of or other chief head or governor or officer of any 
monastery, abbey, or priory, or other places corporate, given to 
their farmers or tenants or otherwise^ according as it hath been 
used and accustomed in the same monastery, abbey, or priory. 
19 Henr. VII, c. 14: Statutes of the Realm, ii, 658, 


The exaltation of the Sovereign in Acts of Parliament begins with 
Henry VII. In 11 Henr. VII, c. 12, there is a reference to his 'most 
gracious disposition' (cf. also c. 24), and in 19 Henr. VII, c. 19, to his 
'most noble Grace and great wisdoms.' Under Henry VIII the references 
become more laudatory. In 1534 the King is a 'most dread, benign, and 
graciou§,' a 'most rightful and dreadful Sovereign Lord' (pp. 38, 382 bdowt), 
who in 1536 is 'daily findiing and devising the increase, advancement^' and 
exaltation of true doctrine and virtue,' and ' the total extirping and destruction 
of vice and sin' (p. 59 below). Thus the Tudor doctrine; of indivisible 
sovereignty finds expression, even in formal legal documents. The glorifi- 
cation of Elizabeth, as in her Treasons Act of 157 1 (p. 413 below), rests 
upon a different consideration. As her threatened life alone stood between 
England and a Catholic reaction — a return under Mary St^iart to the evil 
days of Mary Tudor — ^it seemed infinitely precious; and we find Elizabethan 
lawyers saying in prose what the great Elizabethan writers say in pqetry| 
It is after all a political situation which accounts for Queen Elizabeth's plac^ 
in literature. 

The Church Settlement of Henry VIII 

T h^.fin p ;lish Reformation was accompl ished in two stages; for the Pap al 
au thority Was rejected first and doctrine arTd ritual vf&tt moditied afterwards. 
Thejeiection of the Pope was the work of Henry VTTT^ or.r< ha ^S^t^ 
impoct ant constitutional changes. The p erm anent doctrinal changes we re 
post po^ for near ly a generation, and hclnng to the rpign of Elizabet h. 
These two episodes of vast importance are separated by two minor move- 
ments — the premature doctrinal reformation of the reign of Edward VI, 
and the temporary reconciliation with Rome carried through in the reign of 
. Mary. 

§ I. Minor Ecclesiastical Reforms 

ViILwece,eps^,l[n3ijjJyjy^s^^ diS^king^ 'masterpiece' to 

'makfiJisexifhi&EadiatHieots.'^ The ' Reformation Parliament' met on Novem- 
ber 3, 1529, and the English Reformation began in a way peculiarly English 
— 'not with the enunciation of some new truth, but with an attack on 
clerical fees.*^ An Act of 1 529^ established a scale of fees to be charged by the 
Church courts for the probate of wills: nothing where the effects of the 
deceased were of the value of £^ and under, 'except only to the scribe to 
have for writing of the probate,' 6d. ; 3^. 6d. if over £s^ but not exceeding 
;^4o; SJ. ifover;£40. 

Another Act of 1529* accomplished a similar reform in the case of 
'mortuaries, otherwise called corpse-presents.' No mortuary is to be de- 
manded where the goods of the deceased at the time of death are less than ten 
marks. If their value is ten marks or more and under ;^30 the fee is fixed at 
3J. 4(i; ii £10 or more and under ^^40, at bs. %d.i if ,^40 or over, at iQs. 

A third statute of 1529* restrains pluralities, deals with the clerical non- 
residence which the system of pluralities encouraged*, and forbids forming 
and trading by the clergy. The statute also deals with the special kind of 
absenteeism practised by parish priests who served chantries', forbidding 
spiritual persons, secular or regular, beneficed with cure, to 'take any particu- 
lar stipend' to 'sing for any soul' The Act is linked up with the greater Re- 
formation statutes by a clause providing that dispensations from its terms 
should be void, but that in certain circumstances dispensations might be 

1 Lord Herbert of Cherbury, p. 539. 

2 PoDard, He/iry VIII, p. 272. » 21 Henr. VIII, c. 5. 

* 21 Henr. VIII, c. 6. » 21 Henr. VIII, c. 13. 

* Latimer had nicknamed the absentees 'strawberries, which come but once a 
year, and tarry not long.' 

' Cf. Chaucer's good parson in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, I. 507 if.: 
'He set not his benefice to hire 
And left his sheep encumbered in the mire. 
And ran to London unto Saint Poules, 
To seeken him a chaunterie for soules.' 


purchased — the prohibition being aimed at dispensations from Rome, and 
the permission contemplating dispensations from the Crown^- 

The poHcy of the Tudors which struck at the liberties of overmighty 
subjects was also directed against the immunities of an overmighty corpora- 
tion. Both Henry VII and Henry VIII attempted to deal with benefit of 
clergy and sanctuary — two evils by which 'all over England the arm of 
justice was paralysed.' ^ 

'Privilege of clergy,' says Sir J. F. Stephen^,*' consisted originally in the 
right of the clergy to be free from the jurisdiction of lay courts.' This prin- 
ciple had in course of time been extended (l) by including among clerks 
entitled to the privilege 'secular clerks,' such as doorkeepers, exorcists, 
readers, and subdeacons; and (2) by allowing clergy to all who were capable 
of taking orders, i.e. to persons who could read Latin and were therefore able 
to go through a mass if required. In practice this latter extension meant ^ 
that clergy could be claimed by anyone who could stumble through the 
'neck-verse.' On the other hand, at the beginning of the Tudor period there 
were three classes of persons who could not claim clergy: (i) high treason 
was not clergyable*; (2) felons committing highway robbery or the wilful 
burning of houses were excluded from benefit of clergy at common law^; 
(3) women could have no clergy because they were not capable of being 
ordained*. Nor was it the case that a criminal claiming clergy was allowed 
to go free. He was delivered after conviction to the representative of the 
bishop and detained in the bishop's prison until he could make his purgation 
by the oath of witnesses'. If he was unable to purge himself, he might be 
degraded or put to penance. If he was a notorious offender, the secular court 
might hand him over to the bishop absque purgatione, in which case he for- 
feited his lands, goods, and chattels, and was imprisoned in the bishop's 
prison for life. Tudor legislation on this question begins with an Act of 
1488-98, which provided that a felon who claimed clergy should be branded, 
and that if he claimed it a second time he should be denied it, unless he could 
prove that hewas actuallyin orders. An Act of 1496— 7® had deprived of clergy 
laymen committing petty treason by 'prepensedly' murdering their 'lord, 
master, or sovereign immediate.' A temporary Act of 1 5 1 2^" toot a way benefit 
of clergy from persons 'such as be within holy orders only except committing 
murder or felony 'in any church, chapel, or hallowed place,' or who murder 
or rob any 'in the King's highway' or 'any person in his house.' The Re- 
formation Parliament, by an Act of 1531-2^^, provided that everyone con- 
victed of petty treason, or 'for any wilful murder of malice prepensed,' or 
for 'robbing of any churches, chapels, or other holy places,' or for burglary, 
or highway robbery, or for 'wilful burning of any dwelling-houses or barns > 
wherein any grain of corns shall happen to be' should lose his clergy, 'such as 

^ Two such licences from the Crown, of 27 Henr, VIII, are quoted in Amos, 
p. 239. 

2 Fisher, p. 19. ^ j^ ^j^, 4 Stephen, i, 464. 

8 U. 6 16. i, 461. 

' See Miss C. B. Firth in the English Historicai Revieai, xxxii, 187; also Stephen, 
i, 460-1. 8 ^ Henr. VII, c. 13. » 12 Henr. VII, c. 7. 

I" 4 Henr. VIII, c. 2. This Act was to last only until the next Parliament 

" 23 Henr. VIII, c. i. 


be within holy orders, thatis to say ofthe orders of sub-deacon or above, only 
except.' Clerks convicted of these offences, and then admitted to clergy ana 
delivered to the ordinary, were to remain in the bishop's prison, and were 
not to be admitted to purgation and liberated unless they could find sufficient 
sureties for good behaviour; and they could be degraded by the ordinaries to 
whose custody they were committed^ and handed over to the Justices of the 
King's Bench to be dealt with as if they had not been in orders. This Act, 
and later legislation of th^ reign^, effected considerable improvements in the 
law, but it is noteworthy that no attempt was made to repudiate the principle 
of benefit of clergy. In a way characteristic of English legislation one 
statute after another took away the privilege from particular crimes, until 
it was finally abolished in 1827*, 

The system of sanctuary had grown up out of the feet that in early 
times a criminal who took refuge in a church could not be taken from it^ 
but was allowed to take before the coroner an 'oath of abjuration,'^ by which 
he admitted his offence and swore to abjure the realm for life, proceeding 
for that purpose to a port appointed by the coroner. He was to go 'un-girt, 
un-shod, bare-headed, in his bare shirt, as if he were to be hanged on the 
gallows, having received a cross in his hands.'* In the case of the greater 
chartered sanctuaries, such as Beverley and Durham, an alternative to ab- 
juration was residence within the precincts ofthe sanctuary as a 'sanctuary 
man.' The first restriction upon sanctuary was established by the case of 
Humphrey Stafford in 1487, when the judges held that sanctuary could not 
afford protection in cases of high treason; and the position ofthe Crown in 
this matter was subsequently supported by bulls from the Pope which im- 
posed other limitations also upon the privilege. In the reign of Henry VIII 
/urther restrictions were established by legislation. An Act of 1529^ prO" 
vided that a criminal taking sanctuary for felony or murder should, 'imme- 
diately after his confession and before his abjuration,' be branded upon the 
thumb of the right hand 'with the sign of an A, to the intent that he may 
the better be known among the king's subjects that he was abjured.' Should 
he refuse to 'take his passage' out of sanctuary on the day appointed by the 
coroner for his abjuration, he was to lose the benefit of sanctuary altogether. 
Two years later an Act of 1 531* entirely revolutionised the law of sanctuary 
by abolishing abjuration. The preamble of the statute recites that sundry 
offenders abjuring the realm are 'very expert mariners,' and others 'very 
able and apt men for the wars,' who not only instruct the inhabitants of 
'outward realms and countries' in archery, but 'have disclosed their know- 
ledges of the commodities and secrets of this realm, to no little damage and 
prejudice of the same.' The Act therefore provides that persons abjuring 
are no longer to be directed by the coroner to a port of embarkation but to 

1 23 Henr- VIII, c. 11; 27 Henr. VIII, c. 17; 28 Henr. VIII, c. i. 

* By 7 and 8 Geo. IV, c. 28. An Act of 1547 (i Edw. VI, c. 12) gave every 
peer of the realm, 'though he cannot read,' a privilege equivalent to, though not 
identical with, benefit of clergy. This was overlooked when the Act of 1827 was 
passed, and was not abolished until 4 and 5 Vict. c. 22 (Stephen, i, 462). 

' The form of oath temp. Edw. II is quoted in Jusserand, p. r6o. 

* Quoted from Fleta in Jusserand, p. 161 ». 

5 21 Henr. VIII, c. 2. . » 22 Henr. VIII, c. 14. 


a sanctuary within the realm, where they are to remain under penalty of 
death. An Act of 1534^ puts into statutory form the decision in Stafford's 
case; and an Act of 1536^ devises improved regulations for the control of 
'sanctuary men.' Finally, by an Act of 1540^ all sanctuaries were abolished 
except churches and churdiyards and certain places named in the Act*; and 
sanctuary was not in future to protect persons guilty of murder, rape, burg- 
lary, robbery, arson, or sacrilege. Sanctuary was abolished in 1623®, but 'in 
a modified form sanctuaries continued, apparently in defiance of the law, 
for another century, so far at least as regards the execution of civil process'®; 
and debtors continued to find protection in Whitefriars, the Savoy, and the 
Rules of the Fleet. 

The last of the minor ecclesiastical reforms of the Reformation Parlia- 
ment was effected by the Act of 1532 'in restraint of citations.'' As the 
Court of the Archbishop was a court of first instance as well as of appeal 
for the whole province, it was possible for proceedings to be begun thercj 
and for the person proceeded against to be cited out of his own diocese to Can- 
terbury, London, or York, there to 'answer to surmised and feigned causes.' 
If the person so cited foiled to appear, he might be excommunicated, or at 
the least suspended from all divine service, and before he was absolved he 
was compelled to pay the fees of the court and the 'summoner, apparitor, or 
other light literate person'* by whom the citation was served, at the rate of 
id. a mile. If on the other hand he elected to appear before the court, he 
had to meet the expenses of the journey; and his absence, in days of poor 
communication, gave 'great occasion of misbehaviour and misliving' of his 
servants and household, 'to the great impairment and diminution of their 
good names and honesties.' To meet this grievance the statute provided that 
no one should be cited out of his own diocese, unless for a spiritual offence, 
except on appeal from his own bishop's court, saving the right of the arch- 
bishop to cite any person for heresy or in cases of probate of wills. Fees for 
citations were limited to 'three pence sterling.' 

§ 2. Submission of the Clergy 

Before he opened his main attack upon the Papal jurisdiction, it was 
necessary for the King to secure himself in the rear by silencing Convocation. 
The documents associated with these operations may be grouped together 
under the head of 'the submission of the clergy.' 

(i) Act for the Pardon of the Clergy of Canterbury, 1531 

Before the opening of the second session of the Reformation Parliament 
in January, 1531, the Attorney-General had been insitructed to proceed 
against the bishops on the ground that by acknowledging Wolsey's jurisdic- 

1 26 Henr. VIII, c. 13. a 27 Henr. VIII, c. 10. 

» 32 Henr. VIII, c. 12. 

* Wells, Westminster, Manchester, Northampton, Norwich, York, Derbv, and 
Launceston. An account of each of the important chartered sanctuaries will be found 
in J. C. Cox, Sanctuaries and Sanctuary Seekers. 

s By 21 Jae. I, c. 28. 6 Stephen, i, 492. » 23 Henr. VIII, c. 9. 

* Cf. the description of the 'somonour' in the Prologue to Chaucer's Canteriuri 
Tales. •' 


tion as papal legate the whole body of the clergy had incurred the penalties 
oi praemunire. The Great Statute of Praemunire of 1 393^ had provided, in 
lang|uage at once comprehensive and vague, 'that if any purchase or pursue 
... in the Court of Rome or elsewhere . . . translations, processes, and sen- 
tences of excommunication, bulls, instruments, or any things whatsoever, 
which touch our Lord the King, against him, his crown, and his royalty, or 
his realm,' and 'they which bring the same within the realm or make 
thereof notification . . . that they, their notaries, procurators, maintainers, 
abettors, fevourers, and counsellor!, shall be put out of the kingf s protection, 
and their lands, tenements, goods, and chattels forfeited to our Lord the 
King, and that they be attached by their bodies. . .and bro,ught before the 
King and his Council ... or that process be made against them by praemunire 
facias.''^ Under a writ oi praemunire issued in accordance with this statute, 
the King had been able to confiscate Wolsey's vast possessions, on the ground 
that his exercise of authority as papal legate was a breach of the law, and this 
in spite of the fact that he had received that authority with the King's consent 
and had used it to carry put the King's policy. It was now contended that 
the whole body of the English clergy because they had accepted the legatine 
authority had shared as maintainers and abettors in Wolsey's offence. The 
Act of 1 53 1 granted the clergy of Canterbury pardon for the past on 
payment of a ransom or fine of ;^ 100,000'. Before he would accept the sub- 
sidy and promote the bill of pardon, tfie King also required an acknowledg- 
ment from Convocation that he was 'sole protector and Supreme Head of the 
Church and clergy of England.' This form of words was eventually altered 
by Convocation to 'their singular protector, only and supreme lord, and, ^s 
far as the law of Christ allows, even Supreme Head'*; but this, as the Em- 
peror's ambassador pointed out, was only an empty phrase, as no one would 
venture to dispute with the King where his supremacy ended and that of 
Christ began^. 

An Act concerning the pardon granted to the King's Spiritual Subjects 
of the Province of Canterbury for the Praemunire 

The King our Sovereign Lord, calling to his blessed and 
most gracious remembrance that his good and loving subjects the 
most Reverend Father in God the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
other bishops, suffragans, prelates, and other spiritual persons of 
the Province of the Archbishopric of Canterbury of this his realm 
of England, and the ministers underwritten which have exercised, 
practised, or executed in spiritual courts and other spiritual juris- 
dictions within the said Province, have fallen and incurrqid into 
divers dangers of his l^ws by things done, perpetrated, and com- 

1 16 Rich. II, c. 5. " Gee and Hardy, p. 125. 

* Another Act (23 Henr. VIII, c. 19) passed in 1 532, granted a similar pardon 
to the clergy of the Province of York, on payment of a sum of ^^i 8,840. os. lod. 

* Fisher, p. 308. This qualification was afterwards omitted when the Act of 
Supremacy came to be drawn. 

5 Polkrd, Cranmer, p. 70. 

T.D. * 


mitted contrary to the order of his laws, and specially contrary to the 
form of the statutes of provisors, provisions, and praemunire ; and 
his Highness, having alwiiy tender eye with mercy and pity and 
compassion towards his said spiritual subjects, minding of his high 
goodness and great benignity so always to impart the same unto 
them as justice being daily administered all rigour be excluded, 
and the great and benevolent minds of his said subjects largely 
and many times approved towards his Highness, and specially in 
their Convocation and Synod now presently being in the Chapter 
House of the Monastery of Westminster, by correspondence of 
gratitude to them to be requited: Of his mere motion, benignity, 
and liberality, by authority of this his Parliament, hath given and 
granted his liberal and free pardon to his said good and loving 
spiritual subjects and the said ministers and to every of them^ 
to be had, taken, and enjoyed to and by them and every of them 
by virtue of this present Act in manner and form ensuing, that is 
to wit: The King's Highness, of his said benignity and high libera- 
lity, in consideration that the said Archbishop, Bishops, and 
Clergy of the said Province of Canterbury in their said Convoca- 
tion now being, have given and granted to him a subsidy of one 
hundred thousand pounds of lawful money current in this realm, 
to be levied and collected by the said clergy at their proper costs 
and charges and to be paid in certain form specified in their 
said grant thereof, is fully and resolutely contented and pleased 
that it be ordained, established, and enacted by authority of this 
his said Parliament, That the most Reverend Father in God, 
William^, Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan and Primate 
of All England, and all other bishops and suffragans, prelates, 
abbots, priors, and their convents and every person of the same 
convents, and convents corporate and every person, [etc.] . . . ab- 
besses, prioresses, and religious nuns, and all other religious and 
spiritual persons, deans and chapters and other dignities of cathe- 
dral and collegiate churches, prebendaries, canons and petty 

^ 'Provisions' are appointments to sees or benefices not yet vacant, made by the 
Pppe ip derogation of the rights of the regular patrons. 'Provisors' are the holders of 
such providbns. 

'Praemunire' is derived from the name of the writ, praemunire facias, by which 
the sheriff is charged to summon a person accused of prosecuting in a foreign court 
a suit cognisable by the law of England. The term is also applied to an offence 
against the Statute of Praemunire, the penalty being imprisonment and loss of goods. 

The first Statute of Provisors was passed in 1351, and the second in 1390. The 
first Statute of Praemunire was passed in 1353, and the second in 1393. For the 
terms of these statutes see Gee and Hardy, pp. 103, 112, 122. 

^ Archbishop Warham. 


canons, vicars and clerks of the same and every person of the 
same, all archdeacons, masters, provosts, presidents, wardens of 
colleges and of collegiate churches, masters and wardens of hos- 
pitals, all fellows, brethren, scholars, priests, and spiritual con- 
ducts^, and every of the same, and all vicars-general of dioceses, 
chancellors, commissaries, officials, and deans rurals, and all 
ministers hereafter generally rehearsed of any spiritual court or 
courts within the said Province of Canterbury, that is to say: All 
judges, advocates, registers and scribes, proctors^ constituted to 
judgments and apparitors^, and all other which within the said 
Province of the Archbishopric of Canterbury at any time hereto- 
fore have administered, exercised, practised, or executed in any 
jurisdictions within the said Province as officers or ministers of 
the said courts or have been ministers or executors to the exercise 
or administration of the same; and all and singular politic bodies 
spiritual in any manner wise corporated, and all parsons, vicars, 
curates, chantry priests, stipendiaries, and all and every person 
and persons spiritual of the clergy of the said Province of Canter- 
bury in this present Act of pardon hereafter not excepted or to 
the contrary not provided for, by whatsoever name or surname, 
name of dignity, preeminence, or office they or any of them be 
or is named or called, the successors, heirs, executors, and ad- 
ministrators of them and of every of them, shall be by authority 
of this present pardon acquitted, pardoned, I'eleased, and dis- 
charged against his Highness, his heirs, successors, and executors, 
and every of them, of all and all manner offences, contempts, 
and trespasses committed or done against all and singular 
statute and statutes of provisors, provisions, and praemunire, and 
every of them, and of all forfeitures and titles that may grow to 
the King's Highness by any of the same statutes, and of all and 
singular trespasses, wrongs, deceits, misdemeanors, forfeitures, 
penalties and profits, sums of money, pains of death, pains cor- 
poral and pecuniary, as generally of all other things, causes, 
quarrels, suits, judgments, and executions in this present Act 
hereafter not excepted nor forprised*, which may or can be by his 
Highness in any wise or by any means pardonedj before and to 
the tenth day of the month of March in the twenty-second year 
of his most noble reign, to every of his said loving subjects, that 

^ I.e. spiritual guides or directors. 

* Proctors in courts administering civil or canon law correspond to attorneys or 
solicitors in courts of common law or equity. 

* Officers or messengers of an ecclesiastical court. Cf. the Act of Citations (see 
p. 16 above). * Reserved. 


is to say: To the said archbishop and other the said bishops, 
suffragans, prelates, abbots, priors, and convents and every person 
of the same convents, and convents corporate and every person of 
the same convents corporate, abbesses, prioresses, nuns, and 
spiritual persons in dignity, and all other religious and spiritual 
persons, deans, chapters, prebendaries, canons, petty canons, 
vicars choral and clerks, archdeacons, masters, provosts, presi- 
dents, wardens, fellows, brethren, scholars, priests and spiritual 
conducts, chancellors, vicars-general of dioceses, commissaries, 
officials, deans rurals, all judges, advocates, registers and scribes, 
proctors and apparitors, which have administered, practised, or 
executed any jurisdiction in any spiritual court within the said 
Province, and to the said politic bodies, spiritual persons, vicars, 
curates, chantry priests, stipendiaries, and to all and every person 
and persons spiritual of the clergy of the said Province, and to 
all and every other person or persons before named. . . . 

22 Henr. VIII, c. 15: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 334. 

When the bill for the pardon of the clergy of Canterbury was read in 
the Lower House, 'divers froward persons would in no wise assent to it 
except all men were pardoned, saying that all men which had anything to 
do with the Cardinal were in the same case.' The result was an Act of 1531^ 
by which the King, 'moved with most tender pity, love, and compassion,' 'of 
his mere motion and of his high benignity, special grace, pity, and liberality,' 
gave 'to all and singular his temporal and lay subjects' 'his most gracious, 
general, and free pardon' for all oiFences by them committed against the 
Statutes of Provisors and Praemunire before March 30 in the twenty-sec6nd I 
year of his reign. A statutory pardon of a whole people has no parallel in 

The moral effect of these proceedings can scarcely be exaggerated. Con- 
vocation in particular, which had shewn signs of resisting the King's ecclesi- 
astical policy, now lay at his mercy. The clergy and laity were pardoiiied for 
the past, but what guarantee was there for the future? The Statute of Prae- 
munire was vague; there were daily dealings with Rome; who could say at 
what point these became illegal? Until the religious changes of Henry VIII 
were finally accomplished, die clergy lay under the sinister shadow of prae- 
munire, and all power of concentrated constitutional resistance to the King 
was broken down*. 

1 22 Henr. VIII, c. 16. 

2 'Henijs like a mighty hunter, resolved to subject to his authority the first- 
born of the kingdom of heaven By an act of tyranny never heard of before he had 

all the clergy indicted The terror inspired by this most iniquitous charge crushed ' 

them and ' bowed them down to the ground. . . . Seeing no hope of relief anywhere, 
they gave up the battle as lost and allowed themselves to be trodden under foot, as 
salt that has lost its strength' (Nicholas Sanders, De origine ac progressu sckismatis 
Anglkani,, 1585, trans. D. Lewis, p. 90). 


(2) Supplication against the Ordinaries, 1532 
In Mfirch, 1532, the Commons presented to the King their 'Supplica- 
tion against the Ordinaries. '^ After complaining in general terms of 'mjieh 
discord, variance, and debate' of late arisen in the realm, 'as well throu^ 
new, fantastical, and erroneous opinions, grown by occasion of frantic, 
seditious, and overthwartly framjed books, compiled, imprinted, published, and 
made into the English tongue, contrary and against tihe very true Catholic 
and Christian faith, as also by the extreme and uncharitable behaviour and 
dealing of divers ordinaries' which 'have the examination in and upon the 
said errors and heretical opinions,' the document goes on to enumerate cer- 
tain 'special particnlar griefs.' Of these the most important are: (i) the power 
of Convocation to make 'laws, constitutions, and ordinances' without the 
royal assent or the assent of the laity; (2) the delays of the Canterbury courts 
of^Archjesand Audience^^nd the vexatious exactions of the ordinaries and 
the ecclesiastical courts; (3) the ordinaries 'do daily confer and give sundry 
benefices wnto certain young folks, calling them their nephews or kinsfolK, 
being in thpir minority and within age, not apt ^or able to serve the cure pf 
any such Benefice,' whereby 'the poor silly spuls' of the king's subjects^ 'for 
lack of good curates, do perish without doctrine or any good teaching'; 
.(4) the excessive number of holy days kept 'with very small devotion'; (5) in 
cases of heresy the ordinaries or their ministers put to the accused 'such 
subtle interrogatories concerning the high mysteries of our faith as are able 
quickly to trap a simple, unlearned, or yet a vvell-witted layman without 
learning, and bring them by such sinister introduction soon to his own con- 
fusion. The importance of this document lies in what it omits rather than 
in what it contains. If other grievances had been seriously felt, they would 
probably have found their way into it. As it stands it may be regarded as 
xepresenting the worst that the more responsible critics of me bishops could 
say in public against them. 

The 'Answer of the Ordinaries'^ to these accusations was approved by 
Convocation in April, 1532, and. presented to the King at the end of tie 
month. The ordinaries, who describe themselves as the King's 'orators and 
daily bounden bedesmen,' begin by denying that there is any such 'discord, 
debate, variance, or breach of peace' as had been alleged against the King's 
subjects, their 'brethren in God ahd ghostly dhildren,' and then proceed to 
deal with the detailed accusations seriatim in vague terms and at inordina*e 
length. The general linfe of argument adopted is, that if the things com- 
plained of really happen, it is the fault of individuals and not of the whole 
order of the clergy. On April 30 the King delivered the document to the 
Speaker and a deputation of the Commons for their consideration, with a 
hint of his own opinion. 'We think,' he said, 'their answer will smally 
please you, for it seemeth to u? very slender. You be a great sort of wise 

}■ The fact that there are in the Record Office fpur corrected drafts of the 
'supplication,' with coriectiQns iii Cromwell's own hand, has been taken as eiddence 
that it really emanated from the Court (Stephens and Hunt, iv, 114; but see 
Pollard, Henry Fill, p. 291). The 'supplication' is printed in full in Gee asd 
Hardy, pp. 145-153. * On these courts, see pp. 358-9 below. 

3 Printed in Gee and Hardy, pp. 154-176. 


men. I doubt not but you will look circumspectly on the matter, and we will 
be indifferent between you.'^ In a second answer Convocation oflfered not 
to publish canons henceforth without the King's consent, unless it were for 
the maintenance of the faith^. This also failed to satisfy the King; on 
May 10 he sent to Convocation three articles for their acceptance, and on 
the following day he sent for the Speaker and twelve of the Commons, and 
addressed them in words which shewed that to his mind the real issue was one 
of sovereignty. 'Well-beloved subjects, we thought that the clergy of our 
realm had been our subjects wholly; but now we have well perceived that 
they be but half our subjects — yea, and scarce our subjects. For all the pre- 
lates at their consecration make an oath to the Pope clean contrary to the 
oath they make to us, so that they seem his subjects and not ours.'^ On May 
1 5 Convocation surrendered and accepted the three articles*, undertaking 
(i) not to make any new canons unless the King should license them to make 
such canons, and thereto should give his ropl assent and authority; and (2) 
to submit all canons heretofore enacted to the King and a commission: of 32 
persons chosen by him; (3) canons determined by the majority of the com- 
mission 'not to stand with God's laws' and the laws of the realm, to be 'ab- 
rogated and taken away by your grace and the clergy,' and those approved 
by the commission 'to stand ih full strength and power, your grace's most 
royal assent and authority once impetrate^ and fully given to the same.' On 
May 16, the day on which this submission was presented to the King, Sir 
Thomas More resigned the Chancellorship and retired into private life. The 
proposed reform of ecclesiastical law was never carried into effect, but the 
first of the three articles gave the King all that he really wanted. Thequestion 
of sovereignty was settled in his favour, and he was now secure against any 
attempt on the part of Convocation to protest against the steps which he 
was proposing to take in the matter of the divorce. The permanent constitu- 
tional importance of the submission lies in this, that it put an end to the 
autonomy of the English Church. Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador, wrote: 
'Churchmen will be of less account than shoemakers, who have the power 
of assembling and making their own statutes.'® 

(3) A ct for the Subm ission of the Clergy, 1534' 

5iis Act embodied in statutory form the substance of the submission 
made by Convocation in 1532. It also modified the system of appeals set 
up by the Act of 1533 'for the restraint of appeals.'^ 

An Act for the submission of the Clergy to the King's Majesty 

Where the King's humble and obedient subjects the clergy 
of this realm of England have not only knowledged* according to 
the truth that the Convocations of the same clergy is always, hath 

1 Quoted in Stephens and Hunt, iv, 118, a U. iv, 119. 3 /^_ jy^ 120, 

* 'Their submission is printed in Gee and Hardy, p. 176. 

5 /.^.obtained. The word is used especially of anything obtained by request to 
an authority (Oxford Dictionary). 

6 Quoted in Gairdner, i, 450. ' 24 Henr. VIII, c. 12; see p. 41 below. 
* Used in the sense of 'acknowledged.' 


been, and ought to be assembled only by the King's writ, but also 
submitting themselves to the King's Majesty hath promised in 
verba sacerdotii that they will never from henceforth presume to 
attempt, allege, claim, or put in ure^, or enact, promulge, or 
execute any new canons, constitutions, ordinance provincial, or 
other, or by whatsoever other name they shall be called, in the 
Convocation, unless the King's most royal assent and licence may 
to them be had to make, promulge, and execute the same, and that 
his Majesty do give his most royal assent and authority in that 
behalf: And where divers constitutions, ordinance, and canons, 
provincial or synodal, which heretofore have been enacted, and 
be thought not only to be much prejudicial to the King's preroga- 
tive royal and repugnant to the laws and statutes of this realm, 
but also overmuch onerous to his Highness and his subjects, the 
said clergy hath most humbly besought the King's Highness 
that the said constitutions and canons may be committed to the 
examination and judgment of his Highness and of 32 persons of 
the King's subjects., . .Be it therefore now enacted by authority 
of this present Parliament, according to the said submission and 
petition of the said clergy, that they nor any of them from hence- 
forth shall presume to attempt, allege, claim, or put in ure any 
constitutions or ordinances, provincial or synodal, or any other 
canons, nor shall enact, promulge, or execute any such canons, 
constitutions, or ordinance provincial, by whatsoever name or 
names they may be called, in their Convocations in time coming, 
which alway shall be assembled by authority of the King's writ, 
unless the same clergy may have the King's most royal assent and 
licence to make, promulge, and execute such canons, constitutions, 
and ordinances, provincial or synodal; upon pain of everyone of the 
said clergy doing contrary to this Act and being thereof convict, 
to suffer imprisonment and make fine at the King's will. 
* * » * * # 

III. Provided alway that no canons, constitution, or ordin- 
ance shall be made or put in execution within this realm by au- 
thority of the Convocation of the Clergy which shall be contrariant 
or repugnant to the King's prerogative royal, or the customs, 
laws, or statutes of this realm; anything contained in this Act to 
the contrary hereof notwithstanding. 

IV. And be it further enacted . . . that ... no manner of appeals 
shall be had, provoked, or made out of this realm or out of any 
of the King's dominions to the Bishop of Rome nor to the see of 

1 I.e. *put in .practice.' The word 'ure,' though now obsolete, was at this time in 
common use. 


Rbme in any causes or matters happening to be in contentioi 
and having their commencement and beginning in any ^of th 
courts within this realm or within any of the King's dominions 
i . .but that all manner of appeals. . .shall be made and had. . 
after such manner, form, and condition as is limited for appeals t 
be had and prosecuted within this realm in causes of matrimony 
tithes, oblations, and obventions, by a statute thereof made an( 
established since the beginning of this present Parliament^. . . 
Arid for lack of justice at or in any of the courts of the archbishop 
of this realm or in any the King's dominions, it shall be lawful t( 
the parties grieved to appeal to the King's Majesty in the King' 
Court of Chandery, and that upon every such appeal a commissioi 
shall be directed under the greit seal to such persons as shall bi 
named by the King's Highness, his heirs and successors, like a 
in case of appeal from the Admiral Court^, to hear and defini 
tively determine such appeals and the causes coniCerning th 
same. ... 

VI And if any person or persons ... provoke or sue an; 
Inanner of appeals. . .to the said Bishop of Rome or to the see o 
Rome, or do procure or execute any manner of process from thi 
see of Rohie or by authority thereof to the derogation or let o 
the due execution of this Act or contrary to the same, that thei 
every such' person or persons so doing, their aiders, counsellors 
and abettors, shall incur and run into the dangers, pains, an( 
penalties contained and limited in the Act of Provision and Prae 
munire made in the sixteenth year of. . . King Richard the secon( 
against such as sue to the Court of Rome against the King's crowi 
and prerogative royal. 

VI. Provided always that all manner of provocations and ap 
peals hereafter to be had, made, or taken from the jurisdiction o 
any abbots, priors, and other heads and governors of monasteries 
abbeys, priories, and other houses and places exempt^, in sucl 
cases as they were wont or might afore the making of this Act 
by reason of grants or liberties of such places exempt to have o 
make immediately any appeal or provocation to the Bishop c 
Rome, otherwise called the Pope, or to the see of Rome, that i: 
all these cases every person and persons having cause of appes 
or provocation shall may* take and make their appeals and pre 

1 24 Henr. VIII, c. 12; see p. 41 below. 2 See p. 347 below, 

^ See p. 36 ». below. 

* Cf. 'shaJl mowe,' on p. 6 above. 'Mowe' is an obsolete form of 'may': c 
11 Henr. VII, c. 5^ 'No ship of great burden shall mowe come. . the said havei 
(Oxford Dictionary). 


vocations immediately to the King's Majesty of this realm into 
the Court of Chancery, in like manner and form as they used 
afore to do to the see of Rome; which appeals and provocations 
so made shall he definitively determined by authority of the King's 
commission in such manner and form as in this Act is above 
mentioned; so that no archbishop nor bishop of this realm shall 
intermit^ or meddle with any- such appeals otherwise or in any 
other manner than they might have done afore the making of 
this Act; any thing in this Act to the contrary thereof notwitli- 


° * * * * * * 

25 Henr. VIII, c. 19: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 460. 

§ 3. Cessation of payments to the See of Rome 

(i) Act in conditional Restraint of Annates, issa-'^^t-^ 

The first sta.tute ot the Reformation Pailiaiiieul btiill'uig TTpon P^al 
finance is of the nature of a diplomatic manoeuvre. B ^. . wi|l j h](loldi ng Jthe 
' pay ment^ ^ d ue and ^acgjBstQmEdL^'tbe-iiK^aa'«8eae^ to bring pressure toJMar^ 
on tneP^eto grant mmamvorce from Catharine of Aragon^. 

Annates had long been regarded as a grievance, and a statute of the reign 
of Henry IV' had referred to them as a 'horrible mischief and damnable 
custom,* but the preamble: of Henry VII I's statute exaggerate the grievance. 
It has been pointed out that the object of Tudor preamble is not to tell the 
truth but to make out a case, and the reference to 'great and inestimable 
sums of money' 'daily conveyed out of this realm to the impoverishment of 
the same' goes far beyond the facts. The King is authorised to compound 
with the Pope for annates, and pending some settlement, to declare by letters 
patent any time before the feast of Easter, 1533, or at any time before the 
beginning of the next Parliament, whether the Act should take effect or not. 
But in spite of its provisional character this legislation was opposed by all the 
bishops in the House of Lords, and by a considerable party in the House of 
Commons*. The most important feature in the Act, regarded as a step 
towrards the separation of the Church of England from the Church of Rome, 
is that it sets up provisional machinery for the consecration of archbishops 
and bishops without the necessary bulls from Rome, and defies interdict, and 
excommunication in advance, requiring the clergy to administer the sacra- 
ments 'or any other thing or things necessary for the health of the soul of 
mankind,' interdict or excommunication notwithstanding. Nevertheless the 
King is careful to assert that he and all his subjects 'be as obedient, devout, 

, ^ Interfere. , . 

2 The manoeuvre failed as far as the Divorce was concerned, but it succeeded 
at another point, for the hope that the King would suspend the Act was one of the 
considerations which obtained from Rome the bulls for Cranmer's consecration as 
Archbishop (Fisher, p. 3 17). 

3 6 Henr. IV, c, i. 
* Fisher, p. 3 1 5. . 


Catholic, and humble children of God and Holy Church as any people .1 
within any realm christened.' 

As soon as it became clear that concessions from Rome would not t 
forthcoming, the Act was allowed to take effect by letters patent date 
9 July, 1533- 

An Act concerning restraint of payment of Annates^ 
to the See of Rome 

Forasmuch as it is well perceived by long approved exper: 
ence that great and inestimable sums of money be daily cor 
veyed out of this realm to the impoverishment of the same, an 
specially such sums of money as the Pope's Holiness, his prt 
decessors, and the Court of Rome by long time have heretofor 
taken of all and singular those spiritual persons which have bee 
named, elected, presented, or postulated to be archbishops c 
bishops within this realm of England, under the title of Annates 
otherwise called firstfruits; which Annates or firstfruits heretc 
fore have been taken of every archbishopric or bishopric withi 
this realm by restraint of the Pope's bulls for confirmations, elec 
tions, admissions, postulations, provisions, collations, disposition! 
institutions, installations, investitures, orders holy, benedictioni 
palls^, or other things requisite and necessary to the attaining c 
those their promotions, and have been compelled to pay befor 
they could attain the same great sums of money, before the 
might receive any part of the fruits of the said archbishopric c 
bishopric whereunto they were named, elected, presented, c 
postulated; By occasion whereof not only the treasure of thi 
realm hath been greatly conveyed out of the same, but also it hat 
happened many times by occasion of death unto such archbishop 
and bishops so newly promoted within two or three years aft« 
his or their consecration, that his or their friends by whom he c 
they have been holpen to advance and make payment of the sai 
Annates or firstfruits have been thereby utterly undone and in 
poverished; And for because the said Annates have risen, growi 
and increased by an uncharitable custom grounded upon no jui 
or good title, and the payments thereof obtained by restraint < 
bulls until the same Annates or firstfruits have been paid or surel 
made for the same, which declareth the said payments to be e: 

1 'Annates' are the entire revenues of one year, and are here identical wi 

* The pallium was a woollen vestment worn by the Pope, and conferred by hi 
on certain ecclesiastics as a necessary preliminary to their exercising the functions 
their office. Cf. Fuller's description of it: 'The breadth exceeded not three fing( 
(one of our Bachelor's lamb-skin hoods in Cambridge would make three of thei 
having two labels hanging down before and behind' (i, 107). 


acted and taken by constraint, against all equity and justice; The 
noblemen therefore of this realm and the wise, sage, politic com- 
mons of the same assembled in this present Parliament, consider- 
ing that the Court of Rome ceaseth not to tax, take, and exact the 
said great sums of money under the title of Annates or firstfruits 
as is aforesaid to the great damage of the said prelates and this 
realm, which Annates or firstfruits were first suffered to be taken 
within the same realm for the only defence of Christian people 
against the infidels^, and now they be claimed and demanded as 
mere duty, only for lucre, against all right and conscience, inso- 
much that it is evidently known that there hath passed out of this 
realm unto the Court of Rome since the second year of the reign 
of the most noble Prince of famous memory King Henry the vijth 
unto this present time, under the name of Annates or firstfruits 
paid for the expedition of bulls of archbishoprics and bishoprics, 
the sum of eight hundred thousand ducats, amounting in sterling 
money at the least to eight score thousand pounds^ besides other 
great and intolerable sums which have yearly been conveyed to the 
said Court of Rome by many other ways and means, to the great 
impoverishment of this realm; And albeit that our said Sovereign 
Lord the King and all his natural subjects as well spiritual as 
temporal be as obedient, devout, Catholic, and humble children 
of God and Holy Church as any people be within any realm 
christened, yet the said exactions of Annates or firstfruits be so 
intolerable and importable to this realm that it is considered and 
declared by the whole body of this realm now represented by all 
the estates of the same assembled in this present Parliament that 
the King's Highness before Almighty God is bound as by the 
duty of a good Christian prince, for the conservation and preserva- 
tion of the good estate and commonwealth of this his realm, to do 
all that in him is to obviate, repress, and redress the said abusions 
and exactions of Annates or firstfruits; And because that divers 
prelates of this realm be now in extreme age and in other debilities 
of their bodies, so that of likelihood bodily death in short time 
shall or may succeed unto them; by reason whereof great sums of 
money shall shortly after their deaths be conveyed unto the Court 
of Rome for the unreasonable and uncharitable causes abovesaid, 
to the universal damage, prejudice, and impoverishment of this 
1 Cf. Dr Thomas Gascoigne {ob. 1458): 'Pope John XXII obtained' annates 
'for the See of Rome to rescue the Land of Promise from the hands of Pagans and 
Gentiles, and since then these moneys remain to the Pope's Chamber, to be distri- 
buted among cardinals and chamberlains of the Pope. . ..' Quoted in Gairdner (i, 256). 
Annates really originated, however, in voluntary gifts made to the authorities by 
bishops receiving episcopal consecration at Rome. 


realm, if speedy remedy be not in due time provided; It is ther 
fore ordained, established, and enacted by authority of this prese 
Parliament that the unlawful payments of Annates or firstfruits . , 
shall from henceforth utterly cease... and that no manner pe 
son or persons hereafter to be named, elected, presented, or po 
tulated to any archbishopric or bishopric within this realm shs 
pay the said Annates or firstfruits. . .upon pain to forfeit to oi 
said Sovereign Lord the King, his heirs and successors, all manni 
his goods and chattels for ever, and all the temporal lands an 
possessions of the same archbishopric or bishopric during ti 
time that he or they which shall offend contrary to 'this presei 
Act shall have, possess, or enjoy the archbishopric or bishopr 
wherefore he shall so offend contrary to the form aforesaid. 

[II. If the Court of Rome should delay or deny the 'bulls apostolfe ar 
other things requisite' for the consecration of any prelate to be hereafter a| 
pointed by the Crown, he is to be consecrated without them; if a bisho, 
by the archbishop in whose province the bishopric happens to be, and if s 
archbishop, by a commission of two bishops appointed by the King.!] 
* * * * * * 

V. And if that upon the foresaid reasonable, amicable, an 
charitable ways and means by the King's -Highness to be exper 
mented, moved, and compounded or otherwise approved, it sha 
and may appear or be seen unto his Grace that this realm shall b 
continually burdened and charged with this and such other it 
tolerable exactions and demands as heretofore it hath bieen; An 
that thereupon for continuance of the same our said Holy Fath( 
the Pope or any of his successors or the Court of Rome will or d 
or cause to be done at any time hereafter so is as above rehearse( 
unjustly, uncharitably, and unreasonably vex, inquiet, moles 
trouble, or grieve our said Sovereign Lord, his heirs or successoi 
kings of England, or any of his or their spiritual or lay subjecl 
of this his realm, by excommunication, excommengement'-, intei 
diction, or by any other process, censures, cbmptilscriea, ways, c 
means; Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that the King 
Highness, his heirs and successors kings of England, and all h 
spiritual and lay subjects of the same, without any scruple of coi 
science^ shall and may lawfully to the honour of Almighty Goc 
the increase and continuance of virtue and good example withi 
this realm,, the said censures, excommunications, interdiction 
compulsories, or any of them notwithstanding, minister or cauf 

^ Ezcommunication. 

2 For the State to be absolving scruples of conscience is a novel invasion of tl 
province of the Church. 


to be ministered throughout this said realm and all other the 
dominions and territories belonging or appertaining thereunto, 
all and all manner sacraments, sacramentals, ceremonies, or other 
divine service of Holy Church, or any other thing or things 
necessary for the health of the soul of mankind^ as they heretofore 
at any time or times have been virtuously used or accustomed to 
do within the same. . . . 

23 Henr. VIII, c. 20: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 385. 

(2JiAct in absolu te restraint of Anna tes, 1534 

This Act recites and confirms the Act of 1532 and provides that, since 
the 'gentle ways' contemplated in that Act had proved ineffectual, no man 
should hereafter be presented to the 'Bishop of Rome, otherwise called the 
Pope,' for the dignity of an archbishop or bishop, nor should procure from 
Rome 'bulls, briefs, palls, or other things requisite for an archbishop or 
bishop,' nor shgul^, 'paji^ any sums, of .maDe};c;ti»«AaB^^ 
otheiwasB^fof ^.^l^jtw^ of^SHsJj,^ !su^iJaMlls, 

briefs, palls, annates, nrstfruits' and other payments to Rome 'shall utterly 
cease and no longer be used' within the realm, BBJJEtyg.Act gf /534 "'"~ 

been the custom m the case of a vacant abbey for the abbey chapter to apply 
to the founder or founder's heir for 'leave to elect' a new abbot; and in 
such a case the founder would'sometimes send with the conge ePilire a 'letter 
missive' recommending a particular candidate to the consideration of the 
chapter. As the kings of England claimed to be the founders of the English 
bishoprics, the same procedure was followed in the case of a vacant see. In 
theory the choice of the cathedral chapter was free, but in practice any re- 
commendation in a royal 'letter missive' would be received with great 
respect. What the Act4*U 51440fiW»Jtojaak&,o^^ \ 

habitual and to subject the dean and chapter to the penalties of praemunire I 
if TffiefTa'njd^'elecnte-'IKftg's homines they defer "or delay the' 

election Tof'^more'l^aiif^twelVisr'tHJIf'fRfe'^K^ is empowered to appoint by 
letters patent. Under the same penalties the archbishop is required to proceed 
to consecration. 

An Act restraining the payment of Annates, etc. 

[I. Recites 23 Henr. VIII, c. 20, and its confirmation by the King's 
letters patent.] 

II. And forasmuch as in the said Act it is not plainly and 
certainly expressed in what manner and fashion archbishops and 

1 The legal position is exactly defined in Lord John Russell's reply to a member 
of the Cathedral Chapter of Hereford, who wrote to him in 1848 to say that he 
could not conscientiously vote for Dr Hampden: 'Sir, — I have the honour to 
acknowledge your letter of the 20th instant in which you announce your intention 
of breating the law.' 


bishops shall be elected, presented, invested, and consecrate 
within this realm and in all other the King's dominions: Be_ 
now therefore enacted. . .that the said Act and everything therei 
contained shall be and stand in strength, virtue, and effect; excep 
only that no person nor persons hereafter shall be presentee 
nominated, or commended to the said Bishop of Rome, othei 
wise called the Pope, or to the see of Rome, to or for the dignit 
or office of any archbishop or bishop within this realm or in an 
other the King's dominions, nor shall send nor procure there fo 
any manner of bulls, briefs, palls, or other things requisite for ai 
archbishop or bishop, nor shall pay any sums of money for An 
nates, firstfruits, or otherwise, for expedition of any such bulls 
briefs, or palls; but that by the authority of this Act such pre 
senting, nominating, or commending to the said Bishop of Romi 
or to the see of Rome, and such bulls, briefs, palls, annates, first 
fruits, and every other sums of money heretofore limited, accus 
tomed, or used to be paid at the said see of Rome for procuratioi 
or expedition of any such bulls, briefs, or palls, or other thiri^ 
concerning the same, shall utterly cease and no longer be usee 
within this realm or within any the King's dominions; anything 
contained in the said Act aforementioned, or any use, custom, oi 
prescription to the contrary thereof notwithstanding. 

III. And furthermore ordained and established by th( 
authority aforesaid, that at every avoidance of any archbishopric 
or bishopric within this realm or in any other the King's domi- 
nions, the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs and successors, maj 
grant unto the prior and convent or the dean and chapter oi 
the cathedral churches or monasteries where the see of such 
archbishopric or bishopric shall happen to be void, a licence undei 
the great seal^, as of old time hath been accustomed, to proceed 
to election of an archbishop or bishop of the see so being void, 
with a letter missive^ containing the name of the person which 
they shall elect and chopse; By virtue of which licence the said 
dean and chapter or prior and convent to whom any such licence 
and letters missives shall be directed, shall with all speed and 
celerity in due form elect and choose the said person named in 
the said letters missives to the dignity and office of the arch- 
bishopric or bishopric so being void, and none other; and if they 
do defer or delay their election above 12 days next after such 
licence and letters missives to them delivered, that then for every 
1 A congid'Mre for an election to the Bishopric of Ely, dated 18 July if eg 
and a letter missive recommending Dr Herbert Westphaling for election' to the 
Bishopric of Hereford, dated 23 November, 1585, are printed in Prothero, p 242 


such default the King's Highness, his heirs and successorsj at 
their liberty and pleasure shall nominate and present, by their 
letters patents under their great seal, such a person to the said 
office and dignity so being void as they shall think able and con- 
venient for the same. . . . 

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
if the prior and convent of any monastery or dean and chapter 
of any cathedral church where the see of any archbishop or 
bishop is within any of the King's dominions, after such licence 
as is afore rehearsed shall be delivered to them, proceed not to 
election and signify the same according to the tenor of this Act 
within the space of 20 days next after such licence shall come to 
their hands, or else if any archbishop or bishop within any the 
King's dominions, after any such election, nomination, or pre- 
sentation shall besignified unto them bythe King's letters patents^, 
shall refuse and do not confirm, invest, and consecrate with all 
due circumstance as is aforesaid every such person as shall be so 
elected, nominate, or presented and to them signified as is above 
mentioned, within 20 days next after the King's letters patents of 
such signification or presentation shall come to their hands; or 
else if any of them or any other person or persons admit, maintain, 
allow, obey, do, or execute any censures, excommunications, in- 
terdictions, inhibitions, or any other process or act of what nature, 
name, or quality soever it be, to the contrary or let of due execution 
of this Act, that then every prior and particular person of his con- 
vent, and every dean and particular person of the chapter, and 
every archbishop and bishop and all other persons so offending 
and doing contrary to this Act or any part thereof, and their aiders, 
counsellors, and abettors, shall run into the dangers, pains, and 
penalties of the statute of the provision and praemunire made in 
the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King Edward the Third^ and 
in the sixteenth year of King Richard the Second^. 

25 Henr, VIII, c. 20: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 462. 

(3) The Dispensations Act, 1534 

. ^^^'l.t^^^^iB^MmSmMMmsUsi^'^^^^^-^^ «^er 
I rp pnsitinp s; Jef ePs Tence was an annual tribute to Rome, first paid m 

England, which originally took the form of a penny from each house- 
holder owning land of a certain value*. It has been variously attributed to 

1 I.e. in the event of the Dean and Chapter failing to elect the King's nominee. 

2 The First Statute of Provisors, 1351. 

' The Second Statute of Praemunire, 1393. 
* See TAe Catholic Encyclopedia. 


Ine, King of Wessex (688-726'), to OfFa, King of Mercia (in 787), 
to Ethelvvulf, King of Kent (c. 855}. It was regularly paid from the i 
of WiUiani I, but some time in the, twelfth century the English bis 
compounded with the Papiacy for a fixed annual payment of ;£200; it 
therefore only a small part of^the revenue paid to Rome. 

Th e Act further provides t hat dispen s ationsj ,h.i thertQo]^_ 
Rome at a price, are in future to ^egi^eSTyt^ Cai 

burfoffTHPmriet-'fem' rn-'th^6~Act 'Mf thr^^ 

em^rBi^B?rm"fiafecrc^by the Papacy, is not assigned to the archbis 
but to 'the King's Highness' 'by commission under the great seal.' It 

ithis Act that a phrase occurs which suggests how little Henry VII I's 
formatioTnWIHtaWffirs^^ ¥^^'36 

intentrnaTtrecnne or vary from the congregation 01 Cnrist s Ljimjgnm 
things cdncSTnmglKr^ylTficT^^^^ 

An Act j or the exoneration from exactions paid to the See of Rot 
Most humbly beseech your most Royal Majesty your obed 
and faithful subjects the Commons of this your present Pai 
ment assembled by your most dread commandment; That wl 
your subjects of this your realm, and of other countries 
dominions being under your obeisance, by many years past h 
been and yet be greatly decayed and impoverished by such 
tolerable exactions of great sums of money as have been claii 
and taken and yet continually be claimed to be taken out of 
your realm, and other your said countries and dominions, by 
Bishop of Rome called the Pope, and the see of Rome, as we] 
pensions, censes^, Peter pence, procurations, fruits, suits for j 
visions, and expeditions of bulls for archbishoprics and bishopr 
and for delegacies, and rescripts in causes of contentions 
appeals, jurisdictions legatine, and also for dispensations, licen 
faculties, grants, relaxations, writs called perinde valere^ rehal 
tations, abolitions, and other infinite sorts of bulls, briefs, 
instruments of sundry natures, names, and kinds in great ni 
bers heretofore practised and obtained otherwise than by the la 
laudable uses, and customs of this realm should be permitted, 
specialities whereof be over long, large in number, and tedi 
here particularly to be inserted; wherein the Bishop of Re 
aforesaid hath not been only to be blamed for his usurpatioi 
the premises but also for his abusing and beguiling your subje 
pretending and persuading to them that he hath full powei 
dispense with all human laws, uses, and customs of all rea 
in all causes which be called spiritual, which matter hath b 
usurped and practised by him and his predecessors by m 

1 Census was a term applied to any kind of tribute or tax. 


years in great derogation of your imperial Crown and authority 
royal, contrary to right and conscience; For where this your 
Grace's realm, recognising no superior under God but only your 
Grace, hath been and is free from subjection to any man's laws, 
but only to such as have been devised, made, and ordained within 
this realm for the wealth-"- of the same, or to such other as by 
sufferance of your Grace and your progenitors; the petaple of this 
your realm have taken at their free liberty by their own consent 
to be used amongst them, and have bound themselves by long 
use and custom to the observance of the same, not as to the observ- 
ance of the laws of any foreign prince, potentate, or prelate, but 
as to the accustomed and ancient laws of this realm originally 
established as laws of the same by the said sufferance^ consents, 
and custom, and none otherwise: It standeth therefore with 
natural equity and good reason that in all and every such laws 
human, made within this realm or induced into this realm by the 
said sufferance, consents, and custom, your Royal Majesty and 
your Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons, representing 
the whole state of your realm in this your most high Court of 
Parliament, have full power and authority not only to dispense 
but also to authorise some elect person or persons to dispense 
with those and all other human laws of this your realm and with 
every one of them, as the quality of the persons and matter shall 
require : And also the said laws and every of them to abrogate, 
annul, amplify, or diminish, as it shall be seen unto your Majesty 
and the Nobles and Commons of your realm present in your 
Parliament meet and convenient for the wealth of your realm, as 
by divers good and wholesome Acts of Parliament made and 
established as well in your time as in the time of your most noble 
progenitors it may plainly and evidently appear; And by cause 
that it is now in these days present seen that the state, dignity, 
superiority, reputation, and authority of the said imperial Grown 
of this realm, by the long sufferance of the said unreasonable and 
uncharitable usurpations and exactions practised in the times of 
your most noble progenitors, is much and sore decayed and dimin- 
ished, and the people of this realm thereby impoverished and 
so worse be like to continue if remedy be not therefor shortly 
provided : 

It may therefore please your most noble Majesty for the 
honour of Almighty God and for the tender love, zeal', and affec- 
tion that you bear and always have borne to the wealth of this your 

* 'Wealth' in the sense of welfare: cf. 'commonwealth' in the sense of 'com- 

T.D. 3 


realm and subjects of the same, forasmuch as your Majesty 
Supreme Head of the Church of England, as the prelates ar 
clergy of your realm representing the said Church in their syno( 
and convocations have recognised^, in whom consisteth full pow( 
and authority upon all such laws as have been made and use 
within this realm, to ordain and enact by the assent of your Lore 
spiritual and temporal and the Commons in this your presei 
Parliament assembled and by authority of the same, that no perso 
or persons of this your realm or of any other your dominions sha 
from henceforth pay any pensions, censes, portions, Peter pena 
or any other impositions to the use of the said Bishop or of th 
see of Rome, like as heretofore they have used by usurpation c 
the said Bishop of Rome and his predecessors and sufferance c 
your Highness and your most noble progenitors to do; but thj 
all such pensions, censes, portions, and Peter pence, which th 
said Bishop of Rome otherwise called the Pope hath heretofor 
taken and perceived^ or caused to be taken and perceived to hi 
use and his chambers which he calleth apostolic^ by usurpatio 
and sufferance as is abovesaid within this your realm or any othe 
your dominions, shall from henceforth clearly surcease and neve 
more be levied, taken, perceived, nor paid to any person or pei 
sons in any manner of wise; any constitution, use, prescriptior 
or custom to the contrary thereof notwithstanding. 

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid tha 
neither your Highness, your heirs nor successors, kings of thi 
realm, nor any your subjects of this realm nor of any other you 
dominions, shall from henceforth sue to the said Bishop of Rom 
called the Pope, or to the see of Rome, or to any person or per 
sons having or pretending any authority by the same, for licences 
dispensations, compositions, faculties, grants, rescripts, delegacies 
or any other instruments or writings of what kind, name, nature 
or quality so ever they be of, for any cause or matter for the whic) 
any licence, dispensation, [etc.]... heretofore hath been used anc 
accustomed to be had and obtained at the see of Rome or b^ 
authority thereof, or of any prelate of this realm, nOr for any man 
ner of other licences, dispensations, [etc.]. . .that in causes of neces 
sity may lawfully be granted without offending of the Hoi 
Scriptures and laws of God: But that from henceforth every sucj 

^ By the Submission of the .Clergy: see p. 17 above. 

2 'Perceive' is used in the sense of taking into possession: it was often applied t 
the recovering of rents or dues. 

3 The Apostolic Camera was the central board of finance in the Papal adminis 
trative system. To this Peter's pence and other alms of the faithful were paid. 


licence, dispensation [etc.]... necessary for your Highness, your 
heirs and successors, and your and their people and subjects, upon 
the due examinations of the causes and qualities of the persons 
procuring such dispensations, licences, [etc.].,. shall be grantedj 
had, and obtained from time to time within this your realm and 
other your dominions and not elsewhere in manner and form fol- 
lowing and none otherwise, that is to say; the Archbishop of 
Canterbury for the time being and his successors shall have power 
and authority from time to time by their discretions to give, grant, 
and dispose by an instrument under the seal of the said Arch- 
bishop unto your Majesty and to your heirs and successors kings 
of this realm, as well all manner such licences, dispensations, 
[etc.]... for causes not being contrary or repugnant to the Holy 
Scriptures and laws of God, as heretofore hath been used and 
accustomed to be had and obtained by your Highness or any your 
most noble progenitors, or any of yours or their subjects, at the 
see of Rome or any person or persons by authority of the same, 
and all other licences, dispensations, [etc.]... in, for^ and upon 
all such causes and matters as shall be convenient and necessary 
to be had for the honour and surety of your Highness, your heirs 
and successors, and the wealth and profit of this your realm; so 
that the said Archbishop or any his successors in no manner of 
wise shall grant any dispensation, licence, rescript, or any other 
writing afore rehearsed for any cause or matter repugnant to the 
law of Almighty God. 

XIII. Provided always that this Act nor any thing or things 
therein contained shall be hereafter interpreted or expounded that 
your Grace, your nobles and subjects, intend by the same to de- 
cline or vary from the congregation of Christ's Church in any 
things concerning the very articles of the Catholic Faith of Chris-" 
tendom; or in any other things declared by Holy Scripture and 
the word of God necessary for your and their salvations; but only 
to make an ordinance by policies necessary and convenient to 
repress vice and for good conservation of this realm in peace, 
unity, and tranquillity from ravin and spoil, ensuing much the 
old ancient customs of this realm in that behalf, not minding to 
seek for any reliefs, succours, or remedies for any worldly things 
or human laws in any cause of necessity but within this realm at 
the hands of your Highness, your heirs and successors kings of 
this realm, which have and ought to have an imperial power and 
authority in the same and not obliged in any worldly causes to 
any other superior. 



XIV. Provided alway that the said Archbishop of Canterburj 
or any other person or persons shall have no power or authority 
by reason of this Act to visit or vex any monasteries, abbeys, 
priories, colleges, hospitals, houses, or other places religious which 
be or were exempt^ before the making of this Act, anything in 
this Act to the contrary thereof notwithstanding; but that redress, 
visitation, and confirmation shall be had by the King's Highness, 
his heirs and successors, by commission under the great seal to 
be directed to such persons as shall be appointed requisite for the 
same,^ in such monasteries, colleges, hospitals^ priories, houses, 
and places religious exempt; So that no visitation nor confirmation 
shall from henceforth be had nor made in or at any such monas^ 
teries, colleges, hospitals, priories, houses, and places religious 
exempt, by the said Bishop of Rome nor by any of his authority 
nor by any out of the King's dominions; Nor that any person 
BeKgious or other resiant^ in any the King's dominions shall from 
henceforth depart out of the King's dominions to or for any visita- 
tion, congregation, or assembly for religion, but that all such 
visitatio«is, congregations, and assemblies shall be within the 
King's dominions. 

XXI. And be it enacted by authority of this present Parlia- 
ment, that the King our Sovereign Lord by the advice of his 
honourable Council shall have power and authority from time to 
time for the ordering, redress, and reformation of all manner of 
indulgences and privileges thereof within this realm or within any 
the King's dominions heretofore obtained at the see of Rome or 
by authority thereof^ and of the abuses of such indulgences and 
privileges thereof, as shall seem good, wholesome, and reasonable 
for the honour of God and weal of his people. And that such 
order and redress as shall be taken by his Highness in that behalf 
shall be observed and firmly kept upon the pains limited in this 
Act for the offending of the contents of the same. 

* * * * # * 

25 Henr. VIII, c. 21 : Statutes ^the Realm, iii, 464. 

(4) Act annexing Firstfruits and Tenths to the Crown, 1534 

In March, 1533, the King had told Chapuys that he held himself bound 
by his coronation oath to unite to the Crown the goods which churchmen 
held of it*, and an extensive scheme of secularisation was prepared; but the 

* I.e. exempt from visitatipn by the Bishop of the diocese; see note on p. 51 

* Resident. * Fisher, p. 345. 


only part of it which was carried into effect was the appropriation of first- 
fruits and tenths^ The Act in conditional restraint of annates had referred 
to firstfruits as now 'intolerable and importable,' having 'risen, grown, and 
increased by an uncharitable custom grounded upon no just or good title,' 
and had represented the realm as impoverished, and the bishops and their 
friends as 'utterly undone' by the burden laid upon them. Thus in annexing 
them to the Crown the King was in a position of some ddicacy, and the pre- 
amble of the statute is a triumph of rhetoriral skill and ingenuity. 

In 1703 firstfruits and tenths were assigned by the Crown to trustees, 
called the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, for the augmentation of 
poor livings. The burden is one now easily borne by the clergy, as firstfruits 
and tenths are calculated, not in modern values but in those fixed by the 
Valor Ecclesiasticus, a survey of ecclesiastical property throughout England 
and Wales compiled by Henry VIIFs direction in 1535^- 

An Act concetning the payment of First Fruits of all dignities, benefices, 
and promotions spiritual; and also concerning one annual pension of 
the tenth part of all the possessions of the Church, spiritual and tem- 
poral, granted to the King's Highness and his heirs 

Forasmuch as it is and of very duty ought to be the natural 
inclination of all good people, like most faithful, loving, and 
obedient subjects, sincerely and willingly to desire to provide not 
only for the public weal of their native country but also for the 

^ A later statute, 27 Henr. VIII, c. 42 (1536), exempts the Universities and 
Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge and the Colleges of Eton and Winchester, and 
the oiBcers and students of the same, from the payment of firstfruits and tenths, 
out of the King's 'most excellent goodness and divine charity, with the fervent zeal 
which his Majesty hath conceived and beareth, as well prindpaUy to the advance- 
ment of the sincere and pure doctrine of God's Word and Holy Testament, as to 
the increase of the knowledge in the seven liberal sciences, and the three tongues of 
Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, to be by his people applied and learned.' The 'seven 
liberal sciences' were those of the trivium (Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric) and the 
quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy). In consideradon of 
this, each University was to maintain 'one discreet and learned personage to read 
one open and public lecture' in *any such science or tongue' as the King might 
appoint, and the Chancellors of the Universities, the Provost of Eton, and the 
Warden of Winchester were to cause two masses to be sung yearly, on May 8 and 
October 8, and after the King's death to keep these days as 'solemn anniversaries, 
that is to say, dirige overnight and mass of requiem in the next morrow.' 

2 The survey was the work of a Commission, appointed 30 January, 1535, 
under Sections 9 and 10 of the Act, and was completed in about six months. It 
superseded the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV, made in 1291. It is printed in the 
Rolls Series, but see the criticism of this edition by Dr A. Savine {Oxford Studies, 
i, 22). The difference between this valuation and modern figures may be illustrated 
by the case of the Rectory of Hockwdd in Norfolk, now worth abouit ,^500 a year. 
This is valued in the Faior Ecclesiasticus at £9. ly. ii\d.\ the Rector therefore 
pays £a. 13/. lid. to the Governors erf" Queen Aane's Bounty as firstfruits on insti- 
tution, and 19/. 4</. every year as tenths. 


suppbrtation, maintenance, and defence of the royal estate of theii 
most dread, benign, and gracious Sovereign Lord, upon who« 
and in whom dependeth all their joy and wealth^, in whom als( 
is united and knit so princely a heart and courage, mixed witl 
mercy, wisdom, and justice, and also a natural affection joined tc 
the same, as by the great, inestimable, and benevolent arguments 
thereof being most bountifully, largely, and many times shewed 
ministered, and approved towards his loving and obedient sub- 
jects hath well appeared, which requireth a like correspondence 
of gratitude to be considered according to their most bounder 
duties; Wherefore his said humble and obedient subjects, as wel 
the Lords spiiritual and temporal as the Commons in this preseni 
Parliament assembled, calling to their remembrance not only the 
manifold and innumerable benefits daily administered by his 
Highness to them all, and to the residue of all other his subjects 
of this realm, but also how long time his Majesty hath most vic- 
toriously by his high wisdom and policy protected, defended, and 
governed this his realm and maintained his people and subjects oi 
the same in tranquillity, peace, unity, quietness, and wealth^; And 
also considering what great, excessive, and inestimable charges 
his Highness hath heretofore been at and sustained by the space 
of 'five and twenty whole years, and also daily sustaineth for the 
maintenance, tuition, and defence of this his realm and his loving 
subjects of the same, which cannot be sustained and borne without 
some honourable provision and remedy may be found, provided, 
and ordained for maintenance thereof, do therefore desire and most 
humbly pray that for the more surety of continuance and aug- 
mentation of his Highness's royal estate, being not only now 
recognised (as he always in deed heretofore hath been) the only 
Supreme Head in earth next and immediately under God of the 
Church of England, but also their most assured and undoubted 
natural sovereign liege Lord and King, having the whole govern- 
ance, tuition, defence, and maintenance of this his realm and most 
loving, obedient subjects of the same : It may therefore be ordained 
and enacted by his Highness and the Lords spiritual and temporal 
and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by 
authority of the same in manner and form following; That is to 
say, that the King's Highness, his heirs and successors kings of 

^ See note on p. 33 above. 

2 Cf. 37 Henr. VIII, c. 25. 'We, the people of this his realm, have for the most 
part of us so lived under his Majesty's sure protection . . . even as the small fishes oi 
the sea, in the most tempestuous and stormy weather, do lie quietly under the rock 
or bank side, and are not moved with the surges of the water, nor stirred out of theii 
quiet place, howsoever the wind bloweth.' 


this realm, shall have and enjoy from time to time, to endure for 
ever, of every such person and persons which at any time after the 
first day of January next coming shall be nominated, elected, pre- 
fected, presented, collated, or by any other means appointed to 
have any archbishopric, bishopric, abbacy, monastery, priory, 
college, hospital, archdeaconry, deanery, provostship, prebend, 
parsonage, vicarage, chantry, free chapel, or other dignity, bene- 
fice, ofBce, or promotion spiritual within this realm or elsewhere 
within any of the King's dominions, of what name, nature, or 
quality soever they be or to whose foundation, patronage, or gift 
soever they belong, the firstfruits, revenues, and profits for one year 
of every such archbishopric, bishopric [etc.], . .whereunto any such 
person or persons shall after the said first day of January be nomi- 
nated, elected, prefected, presented, collated, or by any other 
means appointed; and that every such person and persons, before 
any actual or real possession or meddling with the profits of any 
such archbishopric, bishopric, [etc.]. . .shall satisfy, content, and pay, 
or compound or agree to pay to the King's use at reasonable days 
upon good sureties the said firstfruits and profits for one year. 

# # ^|t # # ^|6 

VIII. And over this be it enacted by authority aforesaid that 
the King's Majesty, his heirs and successors kings of this realm, 
for more augmentation and maintenance of the royal estate of his 
imperial Crown and dignity of Supreme Head of the Church of 
England, shall yearly have, take, enjoy, and perceive^, united and 
knit to his imperial Crown for ever, one yearly rent or pension 
amounting to the value of the tenth part of all the revenues, rents, 
ferms^, tithes, offerings, emoluments, and of all other profits, as 
well called spiritual as temporal, now appertaining or belonging 
or that hereafter shall belong to any archbishopric, bishopric, 
abbacy, monastery, priory, archdeaconry, deanery, hospital, col- 
lege, house collegiate, prebend, cathedral church, collegiate church, 
conventual church, parsonage, vicarage, chantry, free chapel, or 
other benefice or promotion spiritual, of what name, nature, or 
quality soever they be, within any diocese of this realm or in 
Wales; the said pension or annual rent to be yearly paid for ever 
to our said Sovereign Lord.... 


26 Henr. VIII, c. 3: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 493. 

^ See note on p. 34 above. 

" A 'ferm' or 'farm' is a fixed annual rent. 


§ 4. Prohibition of Appeals to Rome 
The prohibition of appeals to Rome grew inevitably out of the Divor 
Case. In January, 1533, the King had been secretly married to Anne Boley 
in anticipation of a judgment in his favour to be pronounced by the Enghi 
ecclesiastical courts; and it was important in that event to prevent the ca 
of Queen Catharine being carried to Rome by way of appeal. 

(i) Act in Restraint of Appeals, 1533 

This Act, w-hich was passed througji Parliament in spite of some oppos 
tion in the Lower House, is an historical landmark of great importance, f< 
the preamble embodies a view of the relations of Church and State on whic 
all subsequent legislation has proceeded, down to modern times^ It declan 
the realm of England to be an empire, and asserts in the most formal manni 
the insular independence of the mation-church within the nation-state, 
should be noted that the word 'empire' is not here used in the moder 
sense, still less in the sense in Which we speak of the 'empire' of the Caesar 
The British Empire and the Roman Empire differ in important respects, bi 
they are alike in this that they were built up from within outwards by meat 
of a great expansion. The 'empire' of Henry VIII is the result of the oppc 
site process; it is the nation-state contracting itself upon its insularity. Tt 
bbject of the statute is to deny the subjection of the insular power to an 
lexternal authority, temporal or spiritual, and it thus embodies the fundi 
/mental principle of Henry VIII's Reformation. All spiritual causes cor 
cerning wills, marriage, and tithe are to be finally adjudged and determine 
within the realm, appeals being carried from the archdeacon to the bisho 
of the diocese, and from the bishop to the archbishop of the province sav 
in causes touching the King, which might be carried to 'the spiritual prelate 
and other abbots and priors' of the Upper House of Convocation. This A( 
was subsequently modified by the Act for the Submission of the Clergy ( 
1534 (p. 22), which piiovided that a final appeal from the Archbishop 
Court should lie to the King in Chancery, who should appoint a special con 
mission, 'like as in case of apped from the Admiral Court,' to hear an 
determine eadi case; and the same procedure was to be adc^ted in the ca; 
of appeals from monasteries exempt, which had hitherto been entitled t 
appe?il direct to the see of Rome. These special commissions appointed a 
hoc were called 'Courts of Delegates,' the term being taken from the corrt 
sponding procedure of the Admiral's Court^. While the Act of Appeals wj 
pending, Convocation was persuaded or driven to admit that the Pope coul 
not by dispensation sanction a marriage with a brother's widow, and o 
May 23, 1533, Cranmer, sitting in his archiepiscopal court at Dunstabl( 
pronounced the marriage with Catharine of Aragon to be null and void. A 
Lambeth, five days later, after a secret enquiry, he found the marriage a 
ready contracted with Anne Boleyn to be valid, and on Whitsunday, June 1 
she was crowned queen. 

^ Stepfeen, ii, 477. 
2 See p. 347 below. 


An Act that the Af feeds in such cases as have been used to be pur- 
sued to the See of Rome shall not be from henceforth had nor used but 

within this Realm 

Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chro- 
nicles it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of 
England is an empire^, and so hath been accepted in the world, 
governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity 
and royal estate of the imperial Crown of the same, unto whom 
a body politic, compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided 
in terms and by names of Spiritualty and Temporalty, be bounden 
and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience; he 
being also institute and furnished by the goodness and suiFerance 
of Almighty God with plenary, whole, and entire power, pre- \ ' 
eminence, authority, prerogative, and jurisdiction to render and 
yield justice and final determination to all manner of folk resiants^ 
or subjects within this his realm, in all causes, matters, debates, 
and contentions happening to occur, insurge, or begin within the 
limits thereof, without restraint or provocation^ to any foreign 
princes or potentates of the world: the body spiritual whereof 
having power when any cause of the law divine happened to come 
in question or of spiritual learning, then it was declared, inter- 
preted, and-ehewed by that part of the said body politic called the 
Spiritualty, now being usually called the English Church, which 
always hath been reputed and also found of that sort that both 
for knowledge, integrity, and sufficiency of number, it hath been 
always thought and is also at this hour sufficient and meet of itself, 
without the intermeddling of any exterior person or persons, to 
declare and determine all such doubts and to administer all such 
offices and duties as to their rooms spiritual doth appertain; For 
the due administration whereof and to keep them from corruption 
and sinister affection the King's most noble progenitors, and the 
antecessors of the nobles of this realm, have sufficiently endowed 
the said Church both with honour and possessions : And the laws 
temporal for trial of propriety of lands and goods, and for the 
conservation of the people of this realm in unity and peace without 
ravin or spoil, was and yet is administered, adjudged, and exe- 
cuted by sundry judges and administers * of the other part of the 

1 The Anglo-Saxon kings from Atielstan to Canute claimed and used imperial 
titles, such as^^JW^roAir (see Freeman, i, 133-147); and the term 'emperor' is used 
of Edward I, Richard II, and Henry V. See also an article by Professor C. H. Firth 
in the Scottish Historical Review, xv, 1 85, on the use of the phrase 'British Empire.' 

2 Residents. ^ See note on p. 45. 
* I.e. ministers or administrators. 


said body politic called the Temporalty, and both their authorities 
and jurisdictions do conjoin together in the due administration of 
justice the one to help the other: And whereas the King his most 
noble progenitors, and the Nobility and Commons of this said 
realm, at divers and sundry Parliaments as well in the time of King 
Edward the Firsts Edward the Third^, Richard the Second^, Henry 
the Fourth*, and other noble kings of this realm, made sundry 
ordinances, laws, statutes, and provisions for the entire and sure 
conservation of the prerogatives, liberties, and preeminences of 
the said imperial Crown of this realm, and of the jurisdictions 
spiritual and temporal of the same, to keep it from the annoyance 
as well of the see of Rome as from the authority of other foreign 
potentates attempting the diminution or violation thereof as often 
and from time to time as any such annoyance or attempt might 
be known or espied : And notwithstanding the said good estatutes 
and ordinances made in the time of the King's most noble progeni- 
tors in preservation of the authority and prerogative of the said 
imperial Crown as is aforesaid, yet nevertheless since the making 
of the said good statutes and ordinances divers and sundry incon- 
veniences and dangers not provided for plainly by the said former 
acts, statutes, and ordinances have risen and sprung by reason of 
appeals sued out of this realm to the see of Rome, in causes testa- 
mentary, causes of matrimony and divorces, right of tithes, obla- 
tions, and obventions^, not only to the great inquietation, vexa- 
tion, trouble, costs, and charges of the King's Highness and many 
of his subjects and resiants in this his realm, but also to the great 
delay and let to the true and speedy determination of the said 
causes, for so much as the parties appealing to the said court of 
Rome most commonly do the same for the delay of justice: And 
forasmuch as the great distance of way is so far out of this realm, 
so that the necessary proofs nor the true knowledge of the cause 
can neither there be so well known nor the witnesses there so well 
examined as within this realm, so that the parties grieved by 

1 The Statute of Carlisle, 1307 (35 Edw. I, st. i), an Act against the abuses of 
papal patronage (Gee and Hardy, p. 92). 

2 The First Statute of Provisors, 13 51 (25 Edw. Ill, st. 4) and .the First Statute 
of Praemunire, 1353 (27 Edw. Ill, st. i). 

3 The Second Statute of Provisors, 1390 (13 Rich. II, st. 2) and the Second 
Statute of Praemunire, 1393 (16 Rich. II, c. 5), 

« 2 Henr. IV, c. 3, confirmed and extended the Second Statute of Provisors and 
this was again confirmed by 9 Henr. IV, c. 8 ; 2 Henr. IV, c. 4, forbade buUs from 
Rome for exemption from tithe. 

8 'Oblations' here include whatever is assigned to pious uses; 'obventions' ii 
ecclesiastical law are fees occasionally received. 


means of the said appeals be most times without remedy: In con- 
sideration whereof the King's Highness, his Nobles and Com- 
mons, considering the great enormities, dangers, long delays, and 
hurts that as well to his Highness as to his said nobles, subjects, 
commons, and resiants of this his realm in the said causes testa- 
mentary, causes of matrimony and divorces, tithes^ oblations, and 
obventions do daily ensue, doth therefore by his royal assent and by 
the assent of the Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons 
in this present Parliament assembled and by authority of the 
same, enact, establish, and ordain that all causes testamentary, 
causes of matrimony and divorces, rights of tithes, oblations, and 
obventions, the knowledge whereof by the goodness of princes of 
this realm and by the laws and customs of the same appertaineth 
to the spiritual jurisdiction of this realm already commenced, 
moved, depending, being, happening, or hereafter coming in con- 
tention, debate, or question within this realm or within any the 
King's dominions or marches of the same or elsewhere, whether 
they concern the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs or successors, 
or any other subjects or resiants within the same of what degree 
soever they be, shall be from henceforth heard, examined, dis- 
cussed, clearly finally and definitively adjudged and determined, 
within the King's jurisdiction and authority and not elsewhere, 
in such courts spiritual and temporal of the same as the natures, 
conditions, and qualities of the causes and matters aforesaid in 
contention or hereafter happening in contention shall require, 
without having any respect to any custom, use, or sufferance 
in hindrance, let, or prejudice of the same or to any other thing 
used or suffered to the contrary thereof by any other manner 
person or persons in any manner of wise; any foreign inhibitions, 
appeals, sentences, summons, citations, suspensions, interdic- 
tions, excommunications, restraints, judgments, or any other pro- 
cess or impediments of what natures, names, qualities, or con- 
ditions soever they be, from the see of Rome or any other foreign 
courts or potentates of the world, or from and out of this realm or 
any other the King's dominions or marches of the same to the see 
of Rome or to any other foreign courts or potentates, to the let or 
impediment thereof in any wise notwithstanding. And that it shall 
be lawful to the King our Sovereign Lord and to his heirs and 
successors, and to all other subjects or resiants within this realm 
or within any the King's dominions or marches of the same, not- 
withstanding that hereafter it should happen any excommenge- 
ment^, excommunications, interdictions, citations, or any other 

^ Excommunication. 


censures or foreign process out of any outward parties to be ful- 
minate, provulged^, declared, or put in execution within this said 
realm or in any other place or places for any of the causes before 
rehearsed, in prejudice, derogation, or contempt of this said Act 
and the very true meaning and execution thereof, may and shall 
nevertheless as well pursue, execute, have, and enjoy the meets, 
profits, benefits, and commodities of all such processes, sentences, 
judgments,, and determinations, done or hereafter to be done in 
anyof the saidcourts spiritual or temporal as the cases shallrequire, 
within the limits, power, and authority of this the King's said 
realm and dominions and marches of the same, and those only 
and none other to take place and to be firmly observed and obeyed 
within the same : As also that all spiritual prelates, pastors, minis- 
ters, and curates within this realm and the dominions of the same 
shall and may use, minister, execute, and do, or cause to be usedj 
ministered, executed, and done, all sacraments, sacramentals^jdivine 
services, and all other things within the said realm and dominions 
unto all the subjects of the same as Catholic and Christian men 
owe to do; Any foreign citations, processes, inhibitions, suspen- 
sions, interdictions, excommunications, or appeals for or touching 
any of the causes aforesaid from or to the see of Rome or any 
other foreign prince or foreign courts to the let or contrary thereof 
in any wise notwithstanding. And if any of the said spiritual per- 
sons, by the occasion of the said fulminations of any of the same 
interdictions, censures, inhibitions, excommunications, appeals, 
suspensions, summons, or other foreign citations for the causes 
beforesaid or for any of them, do at any time hereafter refuse to 
minister or to cause to be ministered the said sacraments and sacra- 
mentals and other divine services in form as is aforesaid, shall for 
every such time or times that they or any of them do refuse so to 
do or to cause to be done, have one year's imprisonment and to 
make fine and ransom at the King's pleasure. 

II. And it is further enacted. . .that if any person or persons 
... do attempt^ move, purchase, or procure, from or to the see of 
Rome or from or to any other foreign court or courts out of this 
realm, any manner foreign process, inhibitions, appeals, sentences, 
summons, citations, suspensions, interdictions, excommunications, 
restraints, or judgments, of what nature, kind, or quality soever 
they be, or execute any of the same process, or do any act or acts 
to the let, impediment,. hindrance^ or derogation of any process, 

1 Published. 

2 Rites or ceremonies analogous to a sacrament but not reckoned among the 
sacraments, e.g. the sign of the cross or the use of holy water. 


sentence, judgment, or determination had, made, done, or here- 
after to be had, done, or made in any courts of this realm or the 
King's said dominions or marches of the same for any of the 
causes aforesaid. . .that then every person or persons so doing, 
and their fautors^, comforters, abettors, procurers, executors, and 
counsellors, and every of them being convict of the same, for every 
such default shall incur and run in the same pains, penalties, and 
forfeitures ordained and provided by the statute of provision and 
praemunire made in the sixteenth year of the reign of. . . King 
Richard the Second^. . . . 

III. And furthermore in eschewing the said great enormities, 
inquietations, delays, charges, and expenses hereafter to be sus- 
tained in pursuing of such appeals and foreign process ... do 
therefore. . .ordain and enact that in such cases where heretofore 
any of the King's subjects or resiants^ have used to pursue, pro- 
voke, or procure any appeal to the see of Rome . . . they . . . shall 
from henceforth take, have, and use their appeals within this 
realm and not elsewhere, in manner and form as hereafter ensueth 
and not otherwise; that is to say. First from the archdeacon or 
his official, if the matter or cause be there begun, to the bishop 
diocesan of the said see , . . ; And likewise, if it be commenced 
before the bishop diocesan or his commissary, from the bishop 
diocesan or his commissary, within fifteen days next ensuing the 
judgment or sentence thereof there given, to the archbishop of the 
province bf Canterbury, if it be within his province, and if it be 
within the province of York then to the archbishop of York; and 
so likewise to all other archbishops in other the King's dominions 
as the case by the order of justice shall require; and there to be 
definitively and finally ordered, decreed, and adjudged according 
to justice, without any other appellation or provocation* to any 
other person or persons, court or courts : And if the matter or 
contention for any of the causes aforesaid be or shall be com- 
menced . . . before the archdeacon of any archbishop or his com- 
missary, then the party grieved shall or may take his appeal, within 
fifteen days next after judgment or sentence there given, to the 
Court of the Arches or Audience^ of the same archbishop or arch- 
bishops, and from the said Court of the Arches or Audience, with- 
in fifteen days then next ensuing after judgment or sentence there 
given, to the archbishop of the same province, there to be de- 

^ I. e, favourers, in the sense of adherents or abettors. 
2 The Second Statute of Praemunire, 1393. ^ Residents. 

* 'Provocation' is a term technically applied to an appeal from a lower to a 
higher ecclesiastical court. ^ On these courts see pp. 358-9 below. 


finitively and finally determined without any other or further pro 
cess or appeal thereupon to be had or sued. 

IV. ...And in case any cause, matter, or contention... 
which hath, doth, shall, or may touch the King, his heirs or suo 
cessors kings of this realm, that in all and every such case oi 
cases the party grieved . . . shall or may appeal ... to the spiritua 
prelates and other abbots and priors of the Upper House assem- 
bled and convocate by the King's writ in the Convocation being 
or next ensuing within the province or provinces where the samf 
matter of contention is or shall be begun; so that every such appeal 
be taken by the party grieved within fifteen days next after the 
judgment or sentence thereupon given or to be given. And thai 
whatsoever be done or shall be done and affirmed, determined, 
decreed, and adjudged by the foresaid prelates, abbots, and priors 
of the Upper House of the said Convocation as is aforesaid, apper- 
taining, concerning, or belonging to the King, his heirs or suc- 
cessors, in any of these foresaid causes of appeals, shall stand and 
be taken for a final decree, sentence, judgment, definition, and 
determination, and the same matter so determined never after to 
come in question and debate to be examined in any other court 
or courts : And if it shall happen any person or persons hereafter 
to pursue or provoke any appeal contrary to the effect of this Act, 
or refuse to obey, execute, and observe all things comprised 
within the same . . . that then every person and persons so doing, 
refusing, or offending, . . .their procurers, fautors, advocates, coun- 
sellors, and abettors, and every of them, shall incur into the pains, 
forfeitures, and penalties ordained and provided in the said statute 
made in the said sixteenth year of King Richard the Second^. . . . 
a4 Henr. VIII, c. la: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 427. 

(2) A ct^of Supremacy, 1534 

If the Act of Appeals' decla^^English independence of all external 
authority, the ^^^^^^$^^l,.,^^iS^,,4ii^m^onty of the Cr own of 
Engkndover^aljQ^^is^^^l causes within* the 7^1m"'T^ ideaoTSie 
Supremacy was nothmg new. IthadTound'expression'^^early as 15 15, when 
Wolsey had urged the King to allow the case of Standish to be referred to 
Rome. Henry's reply anticipated his later policy: 'We are, by the sufferance 
of God, King of England; and the Kings of England in times past never 
had any superior but God. Know, therefdrej that we will maintain the rights 
of the Crown in this matter like our progenitors.'^ The Act now recognises 
the Supreme Headship as .^mething already existir^ran3*'al!l!^^ the 
Crovfnyf^m&''Sr&c&^^Srv^^mriri^Skn^€m!mi that 
WolseyTT^n^nStSmSfTiSr-^pf^pfFSd the 4y for Hen^upreme 

1 The Second Statute of Praemunire, 1393. ^ Quoted in Gairdner, i, 283. 


Headships but th e Act itself, ex cept for the cla use relating to v isitation, is 
n ot of the fi retjnigorianc e ! Wli a f t he"I i V > p e' 'T^ ^ei3*irrxr?|^l'dHtt' Wag-fj^t { 
Supreme 1HS3sEip!/Scc^!Wvirtue of his Supreme Headship of the whole of \ 
Christendom, but a practical jurisdiction controlling a large part of the H^"''" ' 

lire or men. Or tniS he had been deprivea alreaay^Dyuie Tar more important 

i f I . 1 I ( ir — ( '!' ' " I '•' ""i"'"-i 1 I III III III I I iii | iiii II r " ' "n i ' i ' I ' "r 1 

Act Or*App.'g "s. 1 he Kmg places on nis wonTsm ornamentaTcopmg-stone, j 

but the foundations had been already laid and the building erected. The view ' 
of the statesmen who supported the Supremacy is indicated by Cranmer. 
'The Bishop of Romcj' he said, 'treadeth under foot God's laws and the 
King's'^; and a little later he declared that the clergy maintained the Pope 
'to the intent they might have as it were a kingdom and lavre within them- 
selves, distinct from the laws of the Crown, and wherewith the Crown may 
not meddle; and so being exempt from the laws of the realm, might live in 
this realm like lords and kings without damage or fear of any man, so that 
they please their high and supreme head at Rome.'^ 

^n Act concerning the King^s Highness to be Supreme Head of the 

Church of England and to have authority to reform and redress all 

errors^ heresies^ and abuses in the same 

Albeit the King's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought; 
to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and so is 
recognised by the clergy of this realm in their Convocations; yet 
nevertheless for corroboration and confirmation thereof, and for 
increase of virtue in Christ's religion within this realm of Eng- 
land, and to repress and extirp all errors, heresies, and other 
enormities and abuses heretofore used in the same. Be it enacted 
by authority of this present Parliament that the King our Sove- 
reign Lord, his heirs and successors kings of this realm, shall be 
taken, accepted, and reputed the only Supreme Head in earth of 
the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia, and shall have 
and enjoy annexed and united to the imperial Crown of this 
realm as well the title and style thereof, as all honours, dignities, 
preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, 
profits, and commodities, to the said dignity of Supreme Head of 
the sairie Church belonging and appertaining : And that our said 
Sovereign Lord, his heirs and successors kings of this realm, 
shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, re- 
press, redress, reform, orderj correct, restrain, and amend all such 
errors, heresies, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities, 
whatsoever they be, which by any manner spiritual authority or 
jurisdiction ought or may lawfully be reformed, repressed, ordered, 
redressed, corrected, restrained, or amended, most to the pleasure 
of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and 

1 C. M. H. i, 646. * Pollard, Cranmer, p. 351. 

s U. p. 352. 


for the conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquillity of t 
realm: any usage, custom, foreign laws, foreign authority, p 
scription, or any other thing or things to the contrary hereof n 
Wl s an mg. ^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^ ^ _ Statutes of the Realm^ iii, 4 

(3) Act against the Papal Authority, 1536 

In connexion with the Act of Supremacy should be studied the rat 
full-blooded preamble of the Act against the Papal Authority. It ma 
another stage in the progressive rudeness to the Pope which can be tra 
throughout the Reformation of Henry VHP. 

An Act extinguishing the authority of the Bishop of Rome 

Forasmuch as notwithstanding the good and wholesome k] 
ordinances, and statutes heretofore enacted, made, and establisl: 
for the extirpation, abolition, and extinguishment, out of t 
ealm and other his Grace's dominions, seignories, and countri 
f the pretended power and usurped authority of the Bishop 
ome, by some called the Pope, used within the same or el 
where concerning the same realm, dominions, seignories, 
countries, which did obfuscate and wrest God's holy word a 
testament a long season from the spiritual and true meani 
thereof, to his worldly and carnal affections, as pomp, glo 
avarice, ambition, and tyranny, covering and shadowing the sa: 
with his human atad politic devices, traditions, and inventio 
set forth to promote and stablish his only dominion, both up 
the souls and also the bodies and goods of all Christian peop 
excluding Christ out of his kingdom and rule of man his s< 
as much as he may, and all other temporal kings and princes ( 
of their dominions which they ought to have by God's law up 
the bodies and goods of their subjects; wherebyjig-did not oj 
^ob the King's Majesty, being only the Supreme Head of t 
his realm of England immediately under God, of his hoiio 
-right, and pweeminence due unto him by the law of God, \ 
spoiled this his realm yearly of innumerable treasure, and w 
the^loss of the same deceived the King's loving and obedient s; 
jects, persuading to them, by his laws, bulls, and other his ( 

1 In 1 527 Henry, writing to Cardinal Cibo concerning the sack of Rome, re 
to the Pope as 'our most holy Lord, the true and only Vicar of Jesus Christ u 
earth.' In the Act of Annates he becomes 'the Bishop of Rome, otherwise called 
Pope.' In the Dispensations Act he is charged with 'abusing. and beguiling' the Kii 
subjects; and this charge is amplified in the Act against the Papal authority. Fins 
in a letter written shortly after the passing of the Act of Supremacy, the Pop 
referred to as 'the pestilent idol, enemy of all truth, and usurpator of princes.' 


ceivable means, such dreams, vanities, and phantasies as by the 
same many of them were seduced and conveyed unto super- 
stitious anderroneous opinions; so that the King's Majesty, the 
LorHs spiritual and temporal, and the Commons in this realm, 
being overwearied and fatigatedTwith the experience of the infinite 
abominations and mischiefs proceeding of his impostures and 
craftily colouring of his deceits, to the great damages of souls, 
bodies, arid goods, were forced of necessity for the public weal of 
this realm to exclude that foreign pretended power, jurisdiction, 
and authority, used and usurped within this realm, and to devise 
such remedies for their relief in the^ame aS-doth not only redound 
to the honour of God, the high praise and advancement of the 
King's Majesty and of his realm, but also to the great and inestim- 
able utility of the same; and notwithstanding the said wholesome 
laws so made and heretofore established, yet it is come to the 
knowledge of the King's Highness and also to divers and many 
his loving, faithful, and obedient subjects, how that divers sedi- 
tious and contentious persons, being imps^ of the said Bishop of 
Rome and his see, and in heart members of his pretended mon- 
archy, do in corners and elsewhere, as they dare, whisper, in- 
culce^, preach, and persuade, and from time to time instil into 
the ears and heads of the poor, simple, and unlettered people the 
advancement and continuance of the said Bishop's feigned and 
pretended authority, pretending the same to have his ground and 
original of God's law, whereby the opinions of many be sus- 
pended, their judgments corrupted and deceived, and diversity 
in opinions augmented and increased, to the great displeasure of 
Almighty God, the high discontentation of our said most dread 
Sovereign Lord, and the interruption of the unity, love, charity, 
concord, and agreement that ought to be in a Christian region 
and congregation : For avoiding whereof, and repression of t'He 
follies of such seditious persons as be the means and authors of 
such inconveniences, Be_it enacted, ordained, and established. . . 
That if any person or persons, dwelling, demurring^, inhabiting, 
or resiant* within this realm or within any other the King's domi- 
nions, seignories, or countries, or the marches of the same, or else- 
where within or under his obeisance^ and power, of what estate, 
dignity, preeminence, order, degree, or condition soever he or 

■ ^ 'Imp' is here used in the sense of 'offshoot.' The sense of the term is not 
necessarily bad, as the expression 'an imp of Glory' occurs in Quarles, 1621 
{(Oxford Dictionary). 

^ A form of 'ineulk,' a word in frequent use in the sense of 'inculcate.' 

* In the sense of staying or remaining. * Resident. * Jurisdiction. 

T. D. 4 


they be, after the last day of July which shall be in the year of ou 
Lord God 1536 shall, by writing, ciphering, printing, preaching 
or teaching, deed," or act, obstinately or maliciously hold or stani 
with to extol, set forth, maintain, or defend the authority, juris 
diction, or power of the Bishop of Rome or of his see, heretofor 
used, claimed, or usurped within this realm or in any dominioi 
or country being of, within, or under the King's power or obeis 
ance, or by any pretence obstinately or maliciously invent any 
thing for the extolling, advancement, setting forth, maintenance 
or defence of the same or any part thereof, or by any pretenci 
Ot(stinately or maliciously attribute any manner of jurisdiction 
authority, or preeminence to the said see of Rome, or to anj 
Bishop of the same see for the time being, within this realm or in an) 
the King's dominions or countries, that then every such person 01 
persons so doing or offending, their aiders, assistants, comforters, 
abettors, procurers, maintainers, fautors^, counsellors, concealorSj 
and every of them, being thereof -lawfully convicted according tc 
the laws of this realm, for every such default and offence shalj 
incur and run into the dangers, penalties, pains, and forfeitures 
ordained and provided by the Statute of Provision and Prae- 
munire made in the sixteenth year of the reign of the noble and 
valiant prince King Richard the Second^ against such as attempt^ 
procure, or make provision to the see of Rome or elsewhere for 
any thing or things to the derogation, or contrary to the preroga* 
tive royal or jurisdiction, of the Crown and dignity of this realm* 
****** 1 

28 Henn VIII, c. 10: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 663. 

§ 5. Dissolution of the Monasteries 

The problem of the moral condition of the English monasteries at the 
time of the Dissolution has not yet been completely solved. It is clear that 
in certain houses 'vicious, carnal, and abominable living' had 'shamelessly 
increased and augmented '^j but the study of particular cases may give a felse 
impression, and it is only by a survey of large groups of monasteries that a 
charge of -general corruption can be sustained. For this purpose the episcop^ 
registers are of great importance, but even these do not contain detail^ 

1 The Second Statute of Praemunire, 1393. 

2 For instance. Archbishop Morton's letter to the Abbot of St Albans in 1490 
is a terrible indictment (Wilkins, iii, 632; see also Gairdner, i, 269). The visitatjoti 
of the Abbey of Thame, a 'monastery exempt,' in 1526 discloses grave disorders 
(JEhglisk Historical Review, iii, 704). The condition of the house of secular canons 
at Southwell (1469^1542) was simply shocking, not only for the multitude and 
gravity of the offences but for the trivial nature of the punishments inflicted (Leach, 
pp. Ixxiv-kxxvii), and both the offehces and the lack of punishment are charac- 
teristic of other houses under regular monastic rule. 


accounts of the visitations, but only references to the comperta or records of 
evidence. The actual visitation records have seldom survived. Nevertheless, 
the episcopal injunctions which are entered in the registers, being founded 
on the comperta and directed to delinquencies proved to the Bishop, 
serve as reliable evidence, as far as they go, about the internal condition 
of a monastery^. In the worst cases, however, the criticisms of the Bishop 
are likely to be within the mark, owing to the difficulty of obtaining 
evidence in a corrupt community^ and to the tendency of some episcopal 
pronouncements to avoid scandal by minimising evils and hushing up 
the facts. 

In approaching the problem it is necessary also to bear in mind that long 
before the Reformation the kind of public opinion which expressed itself in 
medieval literature had pronounced an adverse judgment upon monasticism 
as it then appeared. In this connexion ordinary satirists may be neglected, 
but the charges are made by some of the greater churchmen. In one of his 
fragments, written in 1271 or 1272, Roger Bacon had attacked the cler^ 
and the monastic orders as the enemies of true learning. In 141 4 the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, at the request of Henry V, put forward articles for the 
reformation of the Church, in which the open profligacy of ecclesiastics is 
declared to be a scandal, and it is urged that priests guilty of immorality 
should be suspended or severely punished, instead o( being sentenced to 
pecuniary fines too paltry to act as a deterrent^ Thomas Gascoigne, Chan- 
cellor of Oxford in 1434, a vehement opponent of the teaching of WycliflFe, 
is as vigorous as Wycbffe in his denunciation of clerical abuses — pluralities, 
non-residence, ignorant, worldly, and luxurious bishops* and clergy, who 
lived at Court or in the household of great noblfes; the avarice of the bishops' 
officials; the idleness and gluttony of the monks, who have ceased to be 
chroniclers or scribes or to labour with their hands, and neglect their duty; 
and last of all, the crowning abuse of the Church, the Papacy itself*. The 
same points are made by John Colet, Sir Thomas More, and Thomas 
Starkey [pp. 69, 73, 82], all writing on the eve of the Dissolution. 

The evidence of the episcopal visitations can be conveniently studied in 

^ AU religious houses were liable to periodical visitation by the Bishop, except 
those of the 'exempt' orders — the Cistercian, Praemonstratensian, and GUbertine 
— the friaries, -and individual monasteries which were influential enough to obtain 
exemption from episcopal jurisdiction. These exempt houses were not necessarily 
unvisited, for the exempt orders held their own visitations, and other houses were 
liable to visitation by the Papacy. The Praemonstratensian order had its own 
Visitor, who held triennial visitations. An account of the procedure at an episcopal 
visitation will be found in the Introduction to the Lincoln Visitations, vol. i, 
pp. ix-xiii. The Bishop of Norwich visited the non-exempt houses in his diocese once 
in every six years. 

2 In the Norwich visitations there is a reference to a conspiracy among the 
brethren of St Benet's, Hulme, to report nothing to the Bishop (Jessppp, p. 126). 

^ Lea, ii, 9. 

* 'Alas, how unlucky are the times in which we live, when the prelates give 
themselves up to delights. . .' (Gascoigne, p. Ixviii). See also Gairdner, i, 243-67. 

* 'Rome, as a special and principal wild beast, has laid waste the vineyard of 
the Church' (quoted in Gairdner, i, 255). See also Coulton, pp. 14-17, 57. 



three groups^ which are now easily accessible — those of Lincoln, Norw) 
and of the Praemonstratensian order throughout England. 

The great diocese of Lincoln possessed no less than 1 36 religious hou 
exclusive of hospitals and houses of friars, but the exempt orders were larg 
represented, especially the Cistercians. The visitations at present publisl 
extend only from 1420 to 1449, but even a hundred years before the I 
solution the decay of religious zeal is manifest. The injunctions^ printed 
the first volume relate to 27 houses, and in four cases, Caldwell, Daveni 
Huntingdon, and St Neots^ the preamble selected by the Bishop as m 
appropriate to the facts disclosed by his visitation is 'a sweeping indictm 
of a state of utter slackness and degeneracy.' The rule of the order is 
longer observed, the divine offices are neglected, alms are wasted, and h 
pitality is not kept. 'There is nothing else here but drunkenness and surf 
disobedience and contempt, private aggrandisement and apostasy, drow 
ness — we do not say incontinence — ^but sloth, and every other thmg wh 
is on the downward path to evil and drags man to hell.'* In three other ca 
also the injunctions suggest a bad state of things. At Ramsey^ the open 
junctions were accompanied by others, sealed up, dealing with certain '( 
faults, transgressions, and offences' discovered to the Bishop, 'concern! 
the which,' he says, 'we here keep silence, that we may spare your fame s 
honesty.' At Godstow nunnery^ it was found that 'certain things forbidc 
and contrary to holy religion' were 'shamelessly committed therein'; ai 
in particular, there was trouble with 'the scholars of Oxford.' At Elsti 
nunnery^ the Bishop found it necessary to provide that 'no nun convict 
publicly defamed, or manifestly suspect of the crime of incontinency, 
deputed to any office within the monastery, and especially to that of ga 
keeper.' At the nunneries of Heynings and Markyate* there were scand 
affecting individuals — in the latter case no less a person than the prior 
herself. At Sewardsley'' the Bishop authorised an enquiry into general charf 
of a formidable kind, but the result does not appear. Three houses recei 
good reports: Fineshade, Missenden, and the nunnery of St Mary Delap 
near Northampton*. In the case of the remaining nouses the injunctic 

^ See also Hibbert, Kempe, and Coulton. The last-named gives notes on so: 
of the visitations of Exeter (p. 4), and the Sussex Cluniacs (p. 57); also on particu 
visitations of Wigmore (p. 8 8) and Sinningthwaite (p. 90). 

* As these injunctions are based upon the cemperta, or matters actually discovei 
by the Bishop on his visitation, they are reliable evidence of the internal condition 
a monastery, and not, as is sometimes supposed, mere formal exhortations tl 
have no relation to actual facts. On this see the editor's Introduction to vol. 
pp. xi and xii, and to vol. ii, p. xlviii. 

* Daventiy belonged to the Cluniacs, St Neot's to the Benedictines, and Ca 
well and Huntingdon were houses of Augustinian canons. They were all sn 
houses with 9 or 10 inmates. * p. 76 and n. 

* Ramsey was one of the larger abbeys and had 44 monks in 1439; Godst 
and Elstow, though well knovm, could not at this time have had more than 
inmates each. They were all Benedictine houses. 

« Heynings was a small Cistercian house of 13 nuns, and Markyate a s 
smaller Benedictine priory of only 7 nuns. 1 Sewardsley was Cistercii 

* Fineshade and Missenden were houses of Augustinian canons, and the 'Ni 
of the Meadows, Northampton,' was the only house of Cluniac nuns in England 


point rather to laxity and general secularisation. They refer to 'the frequent 
access of secular folk, especially women' to the cloister; to absence from 
divine service without due cause; to 'talkings together' and 'drinkings' after 
compline. There is a hint of quarrelling^ and the use of 'disdainful and 
despiteful words of insolence and reproach.' The monks possess private 
property in violation of the rule of their order. There is trouble at several 
houses because the inmates 'gad about and wander' and visit the neighbour- 
ing towns; and at Newnham Priory the Bishop forbids it altogether except 
with proper permission, and then only with someone 'of ripe age and dis- 
cretion' and 'other honest company,' care being taken that 'in such towns 
they have no leisure for eatings, drinkings, or trifles, nor vrander or gad 
about through the streets or open places, nor haunt the public taverns, but 
that, having despatched their aflEiirs and the reasons of their coming, they 
return at once to the cloister without delay.' References also occur to 'un- 
seemly games,' 'hunting^, hawking, and other lawless wanderings abroad,' 
and 'archery with secular folk' without proper permission. The ostentatious 
Prior of Canons Ashby wore 'short and tight doublets' with several ties to 
his hose, and rode abroad in a showy and gaudy habit; he was advised to 
practise 'a devout gait or manner of riding.' At Elstow the nuns wore silver 
head-pins and silken gowns, with several rings on their fingers^. At Hum- 
berstone the monks were addicted to flesh-meat at prohibited seasons; and 
at St Frideswide's, Oxford, the Prior was instructed no longer to allow 'the 
superfluous and luxurious expenses whereby your house has been brought to 
poverty.' The 'common barber' at Croyland was to be 'obedient and more 
ready to do service to the monks in his art with all humility, putting aside 
all his rebelliousness and sauciness'; and the corresponding functionary at 
Bardney was to 'shave at a fitting season all the monks, both old and young, 
so that the juniors, while their elders are being shaved, may give their time 
meanwhile to books and study, and no wise to idleness or frivolities'; and the 
young monks were warned 'in no wise' to 'shave one another, as has been 
their wont, on account of the serious dangers which may arise from want of 
skill in that art.' 

The second volume of the Lincoln visitations, containing the visitations 
of Bishop Alnwick from 1436 to 1449, confirms the conclusions suggested 
by the first volume, but the delinquencies now appear rather more frequent 
and the complaints of waste and dilapidation more insistent. The penalties 
inflicted appear, as before, to be inadequate, but the documents illustrate the 
difficulties with which the Bishop had to contend. A secular canon at 
Irthlingborough who was threatened with deprivation produced letters of 
absolution from the agent of the Pope, and the Bishop could go no further; 
and in another case proceedings were stayed by an appeal to the Court of 
Arches. Thus the Bishop was not always master in his own house, and in 

^ At Newnham Priory an encounter between two of the canons had led to the 
'forcible shedding of blood' (p. 92). 

2 At St Frideswide's, Oxford, 'hounds for hunting' are not to be 'nourished' 
within the precincts of the monastery (p. 97). 

* Cf. also vol. ii, p. 3, recording the proceedings of the Prioress of Ankerwyke 
in 1441, who wore 'golden rings exceeding cosdy with divers precious stones, and 
also girdles silvered and gilded over, and silken veils' and 'furs of vair.' 


exercising authority he had to proceed with caution, lest he should find 
himself in conflict with Eternal powers. 

The Norwich visitations, 1492-1532S are much later in date and 
Cover a good deal of ground, as there were only seven exempt houses in the 
diocese, and the number reported on is 42. Bishop Goldwell's visitation of 
Wymondham in 1492 discloses dilapidation and an utter decay of discipline. 
The abbot was got rid of, but there was no improvement, and on Bishop 
Nicke's visitation in 15 14 the condition of the house was disgraceful. Al- 
though the community consisted only of eleven monks, there were cas^ of 
insubordination, free fights in the cloister, drunkenness, peculation, dilapida^ 
tion, and immorality. The prior had abstracted documents; had tried to kill 
two fellow monks with a sword; had thrown a stone at another in the 
presence of the abbot; and had not been to confession for 12 months. But 
a better abbot took the place in hand; in 1520 there were only complaints 
of drinking, and in 1526 there were no serious charges. The visitation of 
Norwich Priory in 1514 shews that the house was in a scandalous state, 
both morally and financially, Westacre was in an unsatisfactory state in 1 5 1 4, 
and greatly in debt; in 1520 things were worse on the financial side; and in 
1526 the Bishop had to deal with a serious scandal. The famous Priory of 
Wailsingham was the worst of all. In 15 14 the prior was a dissolute and 
scandalous person who dressed as a layman and kept a jester; he appropriated 
money and jewels; and he was suspected of immorality. The canons were 
dissipated and noisy; they frequented taverns, hawked and hunted, and stole 
the prior's wine. A new prior effected an improvement, but the numbers 
declined and there was no pretence of piety or learning. y 

The rest of the evidence in these visitations points mainly to secularisa^* 
tion. Some Augustinian communities were living harmlessly as resident land- 
lords or country gentlemen, keeping up the services in the church regularly 
and doing a certain amount of educational work. Some of the smaller and 
poorer houses with half-a-dozen inmates or less were merely useless, as they 
had hard work to live at all. The nunneries appear to have been on the whole 
decent but poor. At Carrow Priory the nuns wear silk waistbands, go outside 
the precincts without veils, and the younger sort are addicted to gossip. 
At Campsey the prioress is described as austere, mean, and stingy, and too 
strict with her nuns; and the cooking is bad. But in a period of 40 years only 
one serious scandal comes to light at the visitations, although there are cases 
of suspicion. In Bishop Nicke's visitations altogether 33 monks or nuns are 
suspected of immorality, and in 15 of these cases the charge was held to be 
well-founded^. But the great majority of the complaints recorded are of a 
different kind. The rule of silence is broken; there is quarrelling and ill- 
feeling among the brethren; the psalms are sung badly, the mass is said and 
not sung, and certain of the monks are so ignorant that they can scarcely 
read or sing; the vestnients are dilapidated and the service-books out of repair. 
The monks go out \yithout leave; they are lazy and get up late; agriculture 
is neglected. There is disobedience; the servants of the monastery are inso- 
lent; the faults of the brethren are not sufficiently punished; the common 
seal of one monastery is not properly kept. It is complained of several houses 
that there is no schoolmaster, and at two that there is no convent tailor. At 

1 Ed. A. Jessopp. 2 Coulton, p. 3. 


Woodbridge there is disorder and drunkenness; at St Benet's, Hulme, the 
third prior is addicted to hunting, and too many dogs are kept, which devour 
the food that ought to have been distributed to the poor; at Buckenham one 
of the canons insisted on wearing pointed shoes; and at Redlingfield ?riory 
the sisters complain that there are no curtains in the dormitory. 

Even if many of the houses are to be acquitted of the graver vices, every- 
thing points to a relaxation of discipline and a notable decay of high religious 
feeling. Another consideration which suggests a general lowering of the tone 
of monastic life is the inadequacy of the punishments inflicted. One of the 
nuns of Crabhouse, who confessed to a breach of her vow of chastity, was 
ordered by the Bishop to sit for a month below the other nuns and to repeat 
the Psalter seven times^. The Prior of Walsingham, who had embezzled 
money, stolen jewels and plate, and committed both manslaughter and 
adultery, was allowed to retire from office on a pension for life^. 

The Praemonstratensian visitations (1475— 1503)' disclose a condition 
of things in some respects scarcely better than in the monasteries of the 
Norwich diocese. The visitations cover the last 25 years of the fifteenth 
centuryand include all the35 English housesof the order, which weresupposed 
to be visited by the commissary of the Abbot of Pr6montr6 every three 
years. These visitations are regular from 1488 onwards, but before that date 
there are only two general visitations recorded — in 1478 and in 1482; 
although visitations of particular houses occur. It is also the case as else- 
where that part of the visitation material is missing*. The total number of 
the inmates of the houses at any particular time was about 420. Out of these 
48 were accused of immoraHty, 29 of them being undoubtedly guilty, and 
the rest, though not actually convicted, were suspect^. Other serious offences 
were theft, embezzlement, apostasy, and murderous assaults. The standing 
abuse of the inadequacy of the punishments inflicted appears in these visita- 
tions also. A canon who had pawned three books was condemned to recite 
seven penitential psalms'. Four canons who went out at night without leave 
to frequent taverns, were each to recite the whole Psalter within a week. 
The abbot of Langley, a very scandalous person, was deposed but received a 
large pension for life. The abbot of St Radegund's in 1500 was accused by 
the brethren of immorality, of frequenting taverns on Sundays and holy 
days, there indulging in evil conversation, and of wasting the goods of his 
house upon women of bad character. The Visitor contents himself with for- 
bidding him to frequent taverns or assemblies of the laity. In this case there 
is always the possibility that the other charges were regarded as not proved; 
but in 1488 he had been excommunicated as an apostate and a sower of 
. discord, and at the visitation of 1497 ^^ virhole convent had brought serious 
charges against him. About 38 sentences of banishment to other abbeys were 
pronounced, but 28 of these were mitigated, and in some cases where there 

1 Cf. the visitations of Southwell, where immorality was punished in 1478 by 
suspension for three days from office and benefice (Leach, p. 37); and in 1503 by a 
fine of 2 lb. of wax. (p. 72.) 

2 See also Coulton, p. 3. 

* Collectanea Anglo-Praemonstratemia. In connexion with these should be read 
Dr G. G. Coulton's criticisms in Medieval Studies (2nd edition), pp. 92 and 126. 

* Coulton, p. 127. * Il>- 

* See also Coulton, p. 129. 


was no such mitigation the sentence was not actually carried out. In 1489 
a canon of Cockersand was sentenced to be banished to Croxton for three 
years for immorality, but in 1491 he was still at Cockersand, and was now 
sub-prior. Another Cockersand canon was sentenced for the same offence 
to banishment to Sulby for seven years; in 1491 he was still at Cockersand, 
and in 1 502 he became abbots 

The minor complaints indicating secularisation and relaxation of dis- 
cipline are frequent, although less so than in the Norwich visitations. The 
most common breach of discipline relates to the rule of silence, which the 
Visitor describes as the key of religious life. Another is the practice of going 
out of bounds without leave — sometimes for the purpose of drinking at the 
neighbouring town, and in one case in order to 'attend spectacles.' There is 
also eating and drinking in the dormitory, and Saturday suppers have to be 
forbidden. Cases of quarrelling and fighting occur; the canons of Tupholme 
are not to be allowed to carry long knives, and at West Dereham one brother 
had struck another with a weapon and had then thrown him into a pond. 
Injunctions are issued against hunting, fishing, the keeping of birds, dogsj 
and rabbits, and games for money, especially dice and cards. In some hoases 
it is difficult to get all the brethren up in time for matins. The Visitor has 
also something to say about the introduction of new fashions in dress, of 
habits not worn long enough, of large sleeves and slippers^, of the shape of 
the tonsure, and of the use of skull caps. 

On the other hand at many visitations the Visitor commends the house 
for its good order. 

It should be observed that the evil of secularisation was not confined to 
the monasteries; the clergy generally were infected by it. On the eve of the 
Reformation the bishops were either ministers managing affairs of state, or 
courtiers waiting for livings to be held in commendam with their bishopric or 
for translation to a richer see. It was not learning, or eloquence, or a saintly 
life that obtained promotion, but administrative ability applied to the King's 
service. The type is Morton or Wolsey-^ — the statesman who is in orders and 
can be rewarded with church preferment. Under this system the bishops 
were many of them non-resident', and delegated their duties to suffragans; 
the higher clergy tended to become mere country gentlemen; and the 
parish priests were often idle and ineflFective. Indications of contemporary 
opinion on this question will be found in the extracts printed below 
[pp. 69-88]. 

To this general secularisation must be added another evil which was 
itself a contributory cause of it. The Norwich visitations suggest a wide- 
spread dilapidation of monastic buildings and property. In several of the 
Lincoln visitations an injunction forbids the abbot to grant corrodies, 
liveries, pensions, or annuities, or to sell or cut down 'the old copses of 
the monastery which are not in decay' without the licence of the bishop and 
the consent of the whole convent. There are also references to jewels in pawn 
^ Coulton, p. 130. 

2 These 'slippers' were the long fashionable pointed shoe — a standing offence 
to the medieval moralist. 

* Richard Fox, consecrated Bishop of Exeter in 1487, translated to Bath and 
Wells in 149 1, and to Durham in 1494, 'never saw his cathedral at Exeter, nor set 
foot in his diocese of Bath and Wells' (Gasquet, i, 24). 


and to a burden of debt. This raises the important question of the financial 
condition of the houses. It has been said that the monasteries in general 
were heavily in debt at the time of the Dissolution; but a recent investigation^ 
suggests a different conclusion. The details given in the Valor Ecclesiasticus 
shew that few houses owed more than one year's gross income^ but as it was 
difficult for them to obtain credit when the Dissolution was known to be im- 
pending, a great stimulus was given to an earlier tendency towards 'waste' of 
monastic goods. The monks were obliged to sell their moveables in order to 
raise money, and in that way insolvency came very near^. This was specially 
the case with the smaller monasteries, the convents of nuns*, and the houses of 
friars^. They were without resources, either of money or of administrative 
ability, and had, as a rule, been badly managed. The preamble of the first 
Dissolution Statute [p. 59], although it begins with morality, makes almost 
as strong a point of 'waste.' The loss of public faith in monasticism due 
to secularisation also influenced finance in another way, for voluntary 
offerings almost ceased. In 1535 they only amounted to £"]. igj. %d. 
for the whole county of Stafford®. In the 30 years before Henry VIII's 
accession no new monastery had been founded in England', for the 
more advanced thinkers were beginning to use their money in a different 
way. Bishop Smythe, the founder of Brasenose College, Oxford, in 
1495 converted «ie Austin Priory at Lichfield into a grammar school 
and almshouses^. Bishop Alcock in 1497 suppressed the Cambridge 
nunnery of St Radegund in order to found Jesus College; and Wolsey 
dissolved 29 of the smaller houses for the benefit of his new colleges 
at Oxford and Ipswich* — whereby he 'made all the forest of religious 
foundations in England to shake, justly fearing the King would finish to fell 
the oaks, seeing the Cardinal began to cut the underwood. 'i" The attitude of 
enlightened opinion towards monasticism in the early part of the sixteenth 
century is expressed by Bishop Oldham: 'Shall we build houses and provide 
livelihoods for a company of bussing monks, whose end and fall we ourselves 
may live to see? No, no: it is meet to provide for the increase of learning, 
and for such as by learning shall do good to Church and commonwealth.'^^ 
To the greater churchmen of the time monastic life was out of date; the 
future lay with collegiate life and the New Learning. 

It has been argued in defence of the monasteries that they never really 
recovered from the shock of the Black Death. This not only affected num- 
bers, but also discipline, tradition, and learning. But serious as the blow was, 
the decline went steadily on after the effects of the plague should have worn 
off, and the houses could only be kept up by reducing the number of their 
inmates. Losses which in earlier times would have been repaired by the 
abundant vitality of monasticism, proved fatal to a movement which had 
already spent itself 

1 Savine in Oxford Studies, vol. i. 

2 lb. i, 217; cf. also Hibbert, Dissolutions, pp. 185-7. 

3 Savine, p. 211. * Gasquet, ii, 213. 

B lb. ii, 256. ^ Hibbert, Monasticism, p. 102. 

' Traill, iii, 35 ». * Hibbert, Dissolution, p. 20. 

9 Gwatkin, p. 167. On Wolsey's dissolutions see also Hibbert, Dissolution, 

pp. 20-29. 
1" Fuller, ii, 202. " Quoted in Creighton, Wolsey, p. 141. 


(i) Act for the Dissolution of the Lesser 
Monasteries, 1536 

As early as March, 1533, the King was beginning to contemplate an 
extensive secularisation of Church property, and a scheme of 1534 included 
the confiscation of the lands of monasteries with fewer than 1 3 inmates^- It 
was, however, decided to proceed by visitation, and in July, 1535} ^^^ com- 
missioners began their work. They proceeded on the lines of the episcopal 
visitations, which were suspended during the royal visitation^, accumulating 
data, formulating compertOy and issuing injunctions. The result was an in- 
dictment of the most formidable kind, which would have furnished ample 
justification for the harshest measures against the monks*. There are still 
extant results of this visitation of three kinds: (i) some of the informal letters 
written to Cromwell by the Visitors; (2) a formal compendium compertorum 
for the Province of York, and for the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, 
and the diocese of Norwich; and (3) seven 'confessions,' or perhaps more 
properly surrenders, the fullest of which is that from St Andrew's Priory, 
Northampton [p. 89]. These not only accuse the monks of the vilest prac- 
tices, but they incriminate the 'great, honourable, and solemn monasteries' 
of the realm quite as seriously as the smaller houses, and so expose the bad 
faith of the preamble of the first Dissolution Statute. All this evidence is in 
fact worthless. The Visitors were men of doubtful character. 'They were 
men who well understood the message they went on,' says Fuller, himself 
no friend to the monks, 'and would not come back without a satisfactory 
answer to him that sent them, knowing themselves were likely to be no 
losers thereby.'* The number of houses actually visited was not one-third 
of the whole number^; and the rapidity of the visitation deprived it of alt 
claim to be regarded as a judicial proceeding*. Again, the comperta do not 
always agree with the reports of the local commissions of country gentry 
appointed to superintend the actual process of dissolution. It should also be 
noticed that a number of monasteries purchased temporary exemption from 
the Act, and among these were some houses which the visitation had pro- 
fessed to convict of serious vice. In one way, however, the work of Crom- 
well's commissioners throws light upon the monastic problem. It shews that 
in the current state of opinion about monasticism, the most damaging state- 
ments did not appear utterly incredible. 

^ Fisher, p. 345. Thirteen had long been the nominal 'conventual' quorum. 

2 Authority to visit exempt monasteries had been vested in the King by 
25 Henry VIII, c. 21 (see p. 36 above).. The visitation of those not exempt was 
undertaken by Cromwell in his capacity of the King's vicegerent. 

* 'When their enormities were first read in the Parliament House they were 50 
great and abominable that there was nothing but "Down with them'" (Latimer, 
Sermons, ed. Parker Society, 1844-5), i> 123- It is, however, an open question 
whether the 'Black Book' ever really existed. 

* ii, 214. 

^ Gairdner, ii, 87. 

* E.g. for the pace of the Staffordshire visitations see Hibbert, Dissolution,T). 136. 
Cf. also Fisher, p. 374. 


An Act whereby all Religious Houses of monks, canons, and nuns 
which may not dispend manors, lands, tenements, and hereditaments 
above the clear yearly value of £200 are given to the King's Highness, 
his heirs and successors, for ever 

Forasmuch as manifest sin, vicious, carnal, and abominable 
living, is daily used and committed amongst the little and small 
abbeys, priories, and other religious houses of monks, canons, and 
nuns, where the congregation of such religious persons is under 
the number of 12 persons, whereby the governors of such re- 
ligious houses and their convent^ spoil, destroy, consume, and 
utterly waste, as well their churches, monasteries, priories, prin- 
cipal houses, farms, granges, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, 
as the ornaments of their churches and their goods and chattels^, 
to the high displeasure of Almighty God, slander of good religion, 
and to the great infamy of the King's Highness and the realm if 
redress should not be had thereof; And albeit that many continual 
visitations hath been heretofore had by the space of two hundred 
years and more^ for an honest and charitable reformation of such 
unthrifty, carnal, and abominable living, yet nevertheless little or 
none amendment is hitherto had, but their vicious living shame- 
lessly increaseth and augmenteth, and by a cursed custom so 
rooted and infested* that a great multitude of the religious persons 
in such small houses do rather choose to rove abroad in apostasy 
than to conform them to the observation of good religion; so that 
without such small houses be utterly suppressed and the religious 
persons therein committed to great and honourable monasteries 
of religion in this realm, where they may be compelled to live 
religiously for reformation of their lives, there can else be no 
reformation in this behalf: In consideration whereof the King's 
most Royal Majesty, being Supreme Head in earth under God of ^ 
the Church of England, daily finding and devising the increase, 
advancement, and exaltation of true doctrine and virtue in the 
said Church, to the only glory and honour of God and the total 
extirping and destruction of vice and sin, having knowledge that 
the premises be true, as well by the compts^ of his late visitations 
as by sundry credible informations, considering also that divers 
and great solemn monasteries of this realm wherein, thanks be to 

1 See note on p. 62 below. 

2 On the charge of waste, see p. 57 above. 

* Grosseteste had visited the monasteries of his diocese of Lincoln as far back as 


* Fixed, rooted, inveterate. The printed copies of the statute usually amend this, 
quite unnecessarily, into 'infected.' ® Accounts. 


God, religion is right well kept and observed, be destitute of such 
full numbers of religious persons as they ought and may keep, 
hath thought good that a plain declaration should be made of the 
premises as well to the Lords spiritual and temporal as to other 
his loving subjects the Commons in this present Parliament as- 
sembled; whereupon the said Lords and Commons by a great 
deliberation finally be resolved that it is and shall be much more 
to the pleasure of Almighty God and for the honour of this his 
realm that the possessions of such spiritual religious houses, now 
being spent, spoiled, and wasted for increase and maintenance of 
sin, should be used and converted to better uses, and the unthrifty 
religious persons so spending the same to be compelled to reform 
their lives; And thereupon most humbly desire the King's High- 
ness that it may be enacted by authority of this present Parliament, 
that his Majesty shall have and enjoy to him and to his heirs for 
ever all and singular such monasteries, priories, and other religious 
houses of monks, canons, and nuns, of what kinds or diversities 
of habits, rules, or orders so ever they be called or named, which 
have not in lands and tenements, rents, tithes, portions, and other 
hereditaments, above the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds; 
And in like manner shall have and enjoy all the sites and circuits 
of every such religious houses, and all and singular the manors, 
granges, meses^, lands, tenements, reversions, rents, services, 
tithes, pensions, portions, churches, chapels, advowsons, patron- 
ages, annuities, rights, entries, conditions, and other heredita- 
ments appertaining or belonging to every such monastery, priory, 
or other religious house, not having as is aforesaid above the said 
clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, in as large and ample 
manner as the abbots, priors, abbesses, prioresses, or other 
governors of such monasteries, priories, and other religious houses 
now have or ought to have the same in the right of their houses; 
And that also his Highness shall have to him and to his heirs all 
and singular such monasteries, abbeys, and priories which, at 
any time within one year next afore the making of this Act, hath 
been given and granted to his Majesty by any abbot, prior, abbess, 
or prioress under their convent seals, or that otherwise hath been 
suppressed or dissolved; And all and singular the manors, lands, 
[etc.] ... to the same monasteries, abbeys, and priories or to any of 
them appertaining or belonging; To have and to hold all and 
singular the premises with all their rights, profits, jurisdictions, 
and commodities, unto the King's Majesty and to his heirs and 

^ Messuages. 


assigns for ever, to do and use therewith his or their own wills to 
the pleasure of Almighty God and to the honour and profit of 
this realm. ****** 

IV. Provided always and be it enacted that forasmuch as 
divers of the chief governors of such religious houses, determin- 
ingi the utter spoil and destruction of their houses, and dreading 
the suppressing thereof, for the maintenance of their detestable 
lives have lately fraudulently and craftily made feoffments^, 
estates, gifts, grants, and leases under their convent seals, or 
suffered recoveries^ of their manors, lands, tenements, and here- 
ditaments in fee simple, fee tail, for term of life or lives, or for 
years, or charged the same with rents or corrodies*, to the great 
decay and diminution of their houses, that all such crafty and 
fraudulent recoveries, feoffments, estates, gifts, grants, and leases, 
and every of them, made by any of the said chief governors of 
such religious houses under the convent seals within one year 
next afore the making of this Act, shall be utterly void and of 
none effect.. . . 

V. And it is also enacted by authority aforesaid, that the 
King's Highness shall have and enjoy to his own proper use all 
the ornaments, jewels, goods, chattels, and debts which apper- 
tained to any of the chief governors of the said monasteries or 
religious houses in the right of their said monasteries or houses 
at the first day of March in the year of our Lord God I535[— 6] 
or any time since, wheresoever and to whose possession soever 
they shall come or be found : Except only such beasts, grain, and 
woods, and such like other chattels and revenues, as have been 
sold in the said first day of March or since for the necessary or 
reasonable expenses or charges of any of the said monasteries or 
houses.. . . 

VIII. In consideration of which premises to be had to his 
Highness and to his heirs as is aforesaid, his Majesty is pleased 
and contented of his most excellent charity to provide to every 

1 Deciding. 

* A 'feoffment' is a mode of conveyance by which a person is invested v^ith 
freehold land by livery of seisin. It could be used to effect a mortgage. 

' A 'recovery' was a method of alienating land by a collusive action. By the 
Tudor period it had become a regular method of conveyance. 

* 'Corrody' was 'originally the right of free quarters due from the vassal to the 
lord on his circuit; but later applied especially to certain contributions of food, pro- 
visions, etc., paid annually by religious houses. . . . Sometimes the contribution might 
be commuted, and then it would be practically undistinguishable from an annuity 
or pension' (Fortescue, p. 337). 


chief head and governor of every such religious house during 
their lives such yearly pensions or benefices as for their degrees 
and qualities shall be reasonable and convenient; wherein his 
Highness will have most tender respect to such of the said chief 
governors as well and truly conserve and keep the goods and 
ornaments of their houses to the use of his Majesty, without spoil, 
waste, or embezzling the same; And also his Majesty will ordain 
and provide that the convents^ of every such religious house shall 
have their capacities, if they will, to live honestly and virtuously 
abroad, and some convenient charity disposed to them toward 
their living, or else shall be committed to such honourable great 
monasteries of this realm wherein good fdigion is observed as 
shall be limited by his Highness, there to live religiously during 
their lives. 

IX. And it is ordained by authority aforesaid that the chief 
governors and convents of such honourable great monasteries 
shall take and accept into their houses from time to time such 
number of the persons of the said convents as shall be assigned 
and appointed by the King's Highness, and keep them religiousiy 
during their lives within their said monasteries in like manner 
and form as the convents of such great monasteries be ordered 
and kept. 

^ ^ ^ ¥^ ^ ¥k ^ 

XII I. Provided always that the King's Highness, at any time 
after the making of this Act, may at his pleasure ordain and de- 
clare, by his letters patents under his great seal, that such of the 
said religious houses which his Highniess shall not be disposed to 
have suppressed nor dissolved by authority of this Act shall still 
continue, remain, and be in the same body corporate and in the 
said essential estate, quality, and condition, as well in possessiohs 
as otherwise, as they were afore the making of this Act, withotii 
any suppression or dissolution thereof or any part of the same by 
authority of this Act. . . . 


XVII. And further be it enacted, ordained, and established 
by authority aforesaid, that all and singular persons, bodies 
politic, and corporate, to whom the King's Majesty, his heirs or 
successors, hereafter shall give, grant, let, or demise any site or 
precinct, with the houses thereupon builded, together with the 

1 The word 'convent' was applied in the Middle Ages to the whole 
community of monks, friars, or nuns living in a single house, not to the building in 
which they lived. It is only by a later usage that it has been specially assigned to a 
house of nuns. 


demesnes of any monasteries, priories, or other religious houses 
that shall be dissolved or given to the King's Highness by this 
Act, And the heirs, successors, executors, and assigns of every 
such person, body politic, and corporate, shall be bounden by 
authority of this Act, under the penalties hereafter ensuing, to 
keep or cause to be kept an honest continual house and household 
in the same site or precinct, and to occupy yearly as much of the 
same demesnes in ploughing and tillage of husbandry, that is to 
say, as much of the said demesnes which hath been commonly 
used to be kept in tillage by the governors, abbots, or priors of 
the same houses, monasteries, or priories, or by their farmer or 
farmers occupying the same, within the time of 20 years next 
before this Act : And if any person or persons, bodies politic or 
corporate, that shall be bounden by this Act do not keep an honest 
house, household, husbandry, and tillage in manner and form as 
is aforesaid, that then he or they so offending shall forfeit to the 
King's Highness for every month so offending ^6. 13J. ^d. to be 
recovered to his use in any of his Courts of Record. 

27 Henr. VIII, c. 28: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 575. 

(2) Act for the Dissolution of the Greater Monasteries, 1539 

'The fourth day of February' [1536J, says the chronicler Hall, 'the 
King held his High Court of Parliament at Westminster, in the which was 
many good and wholesome statutes and laws made and concluded. And in 
this time was given unto the King by the consent of the great and fat abbots 
all religious houses that were of the value of 300 mark and under, in hope 
that their great monasteries should have continued still. But even at that 
time one said in the Parliament House that these were as thorns, but the 
great abbots were putrified old oaks, and they must needs follow. . . .'^ But 
in the case of the greater abbeys, many of whose mitred abbots sat in the 
House of Loi'ds, it was desirable that all appearance of confiscation should 
be avoided. The houses were approached singly by Cromwell, and either 

^ Hall, ii, 267. The same point is put in a fictitiotis speech in Convocation 
attributed to Bishop Fisher: 'Wherefore the manner of these proceedings puts me 
in mind of a fable, how the axe which wanted a handle came upon a time unto the 
wood making his moan to the great trees how he wanted a handle to work withal, 
and for that cause was constrained to sit idle. Wherefore he made it his request unto 
them, that they would be pleased to grant him one of their small saplings within the 
wood to make him a handle, who, mistrusting no guile, granted him one of the 
smaller trees, wherewith he made himself a handle; so becoming a complete axe, he 
so fell to work within the same wood that in process of time there was neither great 
nor small tree to be found in the place where the wood stood. And so, my Lords, if 
you grant the King these smaller monasteries, you do but make him a handle, 
whereby at his own pleasure he may cut down all the cedars within your Libanus, 
and then you may thank yourselves after ye have incurred the heavy displeasure of 
Almighty God' (Lewis, ii, 42). 


bullied or persuaded into signing deeds of voluntary surrender. Some house 
concealed their valuables; others made over their lands to laymen in the hop) 
of saving them; some offered gifts to Cromwell and the King. But these wen 
determined, as Cromwell said, 'to taste the fat priests,' and although then 
was no legal power to suppress, between 1537 ^"'^ ^539 ^ ^^""S^ number ol 
the greater monasteries surrendered to the King^. The movement was stimu- 
lated by another visitation of January, 1538, and steps were also taken 
against the friaries^. Twelve of the more powerful houses still held out, and 
these were involved in charges of treason. The abbots were accused of com- 
plicity in rebellion, and by a novel interpretation of the law, their abbe)^ 
were declared forfeited to the Crown by their attainder, as if they had been 
their private estates. Thus, in connexion with the Pilgrimage of Grace, 
Jervaux, Whalley, Barlings, Kirkstead, and Bridlington were dissolved; 
the abbot of Furness was forced to surrender; and the Cistercian abbey of 
Holm Cultram was involved in the Lincolnshire rebellion^ The abbots of 
Glastonbury, Reading, and Colchester, three of the most famous houses in 
England, were all hanged. The last abbey to surrender was Waltham — on 
March 23, 1540. The Act of 1539 for the Dissolution of the Greater 
Monasteries recognised what had been done, and to prevent any doubts as 
to legal titles, vested the surrendered houses, and such as should hereafter be 
surrendered, in the King, his heirs and successors, for ever. 

An Act for dissolution of Abbeys 

Where divers and sundry abbots, priors, abbesses, pri- 
oresses, and other ecclesiastical governors and governesses of 
divers monasteries, abbacies, priories, nunneries, colleges, hos? 
pitals, houses of friars, and other religious and ecclesiastical 
houses and places within this our Sovereign Lord the King's 
realm of England and Wales, of their own free and voluntary 
minds, good wills, and assents, without constraint, coaction, or 
compulsion of any manner of person or persons, since the fourth 
day of February, the 27th year* of the reign of our now most 
dread Sovereign Lord, by the due order and course of the common 
laws of this his realm of England, and by their sufficient writings 
of record under their convent and common seals, have severally 
given, granted, and by the same their writings severally con- 
firmed all their said monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . , and alt their 
sites, circuits, and precincts of the same, and all and singular 
their manors, lordships, granges, meses^, lands, tenements, 
meadows, pastures, rents, reversions, services, woods, tithes, pen- 
sions, portions, churches, chapels, advowsons, patronages, an- 
nuities, rights, entries, conditions, commons, leets^, courts, 

1 Between 1537 and 1540 surrenders were obtained from 158 abbeys and 30 
nunneries (Gwatkin, p. 166). 

2 Fisher, p. 425. 3 /^ p ^jg 

« February 4, 1536. ^ Messuages. « Jurisdictions of court leet. 


liberties, privileges, and franchises, appertaining or in any wise 
belonging to any such monastery, abbacy [etc] . . . or to any of 
them, by whatsoever name or corporation they or any of them 
were then named or called, and of what order, habit, religion, or 
other kind or quality soever they or any of them then were re- 
puted, known, or taken; To have and to hold all the said monas- 
teries, abbacies [etc.] . . . sites, circuits [etc.] . . . and all other the 
premises to our said Sovereign Lord, his heirs and successors, for 
ever; and the same their said monasteries, abbacies, [etc.] , . . sites, 
circuits [etc.], . .and other the premises, voluntarily as is afore- 
said have renounced, left, and forsaken, and every of them hath 
renounced, left, and forsaken: Be it therefore enacted. . .That 
the King our Sovereign Lord shall have, hold, possess, and enjoy 
to him, his heirs and successors, for ever all and singular such late 
monasteries, abbacies [etc.]. . .which since the said fourth day of 
February the 27th year of the reign of our said Sovereign Lord 
have been dissolved, suppressed, renounced, relinquished, for- 
feited, given up, or by any other mean^ come to his Highness; 
arid by the same authority and in like manner shall have, hold, 
possess, and enjoy all the sites, circuits [etc.] . . . and other what- 
soever hereditaments which appertained or belonged to the said 
late monasteries, abbacies [etc.] ... or to any of them, in as large 
and ample manner and form as the late abbots, priors, abbesses, 
prioresses, and other ecclesiastical governors and governesses of 
such late monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . . had, held, or occupied, 
or of right ought to have had, holden, or occupied, in the rights 
of their said late monasteries, abbacies [etc.] ... at the time of the 
said dissolution, suppression, renouncing, relinquishing, forfeit- 
ing, giving up, or by any other manner of mean coming of the 
same to the King's Highness, since the fourth day of February 
above specified. 

n. And it is further enacted by the authority abovesaid, that 
not only all the said late monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . . sites, cir- 
cuits [etc.] . . . and all other the premises, forthwith, immediately, 
and presently^, but also all other monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . . 
which hereafter shall happen to be dissolved, suppressed, [etc.] . . . 
and also all the sites, circuits [etc.]. . . and other hereditaments, 
whatsoever they be, belonging or appertaining to the same or any 
of them, whensoever and as soon as they shall be dissolved, sup- 
pressed, [etc.] . . . shall be vested, deemed, and adjudged by author- 
ity of this present Parliament in the very actual and real seisin 

1 'Mean' in the singular was in common use. 
* Immediately. 

T. D. 5 


and possession of the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs a 
successors, for ever, in the state and condition as they now be a 
as though all the said late monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . .so d 
solved, suppressed [etc.] ... as also the said monasteries, abbac 
[etc.] . . . which hereafter shall happen to be dissolved, suppress 
[etc.]. . .sites, circuits [etc.]. . .and other the premises whatsoe^ 
they be and every of them, were in this present Act specially a 
particularly rehearsed, named, and expressed, by express won 
names, titles, and faculties, and in their natures, kinds, and qualitii 
III. And be it also enacted by authority aforesaid, that all t 
said late monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . . which be dissolved, su 
pressed [etc.] . . . and all the manors, lordships, granges, lane 
tenements, and other the premises, Except such thereof as 
come to the King's hands by attainder or attainders of treasc 
And all the said monasteries, abbacies [etc.] . . . which hereaft 
shall happen to be dissolved, suppressed [etc.] . . , and all t 
manors, lordships, granges, lands, tenements, meadows, pastun 
rents, reversions, services, woods, tithes, portions, pensions, pj 
sonages, appropriate vicarages^, churches, chapels, advowsor 
nominations, patronages, annuities, rights, interests, entries, co 
ditions, commons, leets, courts,, liberties, privileges, franchise 
and other hereditaments whatsoever they be, belonging to i. 
same or to any of them (except such thra-eof which shall happi 
to come to the King's Highness by attainder or attainders 
treason), shall be in the order, survey, and governance of our sa 
Sovereign Lord the King's Court of Augmentations of tJ 
Revenues of his Crown. . . , 

XVIIL And be it further enacted by authority of this prese 
Parliament, that such of the said late monasteries, abbacies [etc 
. , , and all churches and chapels to them or any of them belongin 
which before the dissolution, suppression [etc.] . , . were exempt! 
from the visitation or visitations and all other jurisdiction of tl 
ordinary or ordinaries^ within whose diocese they were situate 
set, shall from henceforth be within the jurisdiction or visitatit 
of the ordinary or otdinaries within whose diocese they or any 
them be situate and set, or within the jurisdiction and visitatic 

1 The word 'appropriate' is here used in a technical ecclesiastical sense, o 
benefice annexed to a religious Corporation. 

* In ecclesiastical law the 'ordinary' is one who has of his own right, and i 
by special deputation, immediate jurisdiction in ecclesiastical causes. In pract 
this would usually, but not invariably, be the bishop of the diocese. 


of such person or persons as by the King's Highness shall be 
limited or appointed; This Act or any other exemption, liberty, or 
jurisdiction to the contrary notwithstanding. 

* * * in # * 

31 Henr, VIII, c. 13: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 733, 

The number of the smaller religious houses affected by the First Act of 
Dissolution was 376. Under the Second Act about 200 greater houses^^ and 
200 friaries were acquired by the King. From the Valor Ecclesiasticus particu- 
lars of the income of 553 monasteries can be obtained, and this works out 
at a total of ;^i6o,ooo gross or £135,000 net^. This income was derived 
from a variety of sources — ^tithe, voluntary offerings, glebe, leases of bene- 
fices, rents, minerals (salt-works, quarries, and mines), mills, markets, 
fisheries, fines and fees and the income from manorial courts, rights of com- 
mon, cattle and sheep farming, and the sale of timber. In addition to the 
monastic income and the landed and other property which produced it, the 
Crown acquired under the Dissolution Acts a considerable quantity of plate, 
ornaments, vestments, and other moveable property, in spite of the fact that 
as the Dissolution drew near the monks sold off their cattle, grain, and 
timber, and tried to conceal their jewels and plate^. Further, although they 
ceased to spend money on keeping up their buildings, which tended to fe.ll 
into decay, it was found vi^hen the architectural tragedy of the Dissolution was 
consummated that a good deal of money could be realised by the sale of 
building materials, bells, and lead from the roofs. Of the value of this mis- 
cellaneous property no very satisfactory calculation has yet been made*. 

The effects of the Dissolution upon education, the poor, and social life 
belong properly to the province of economic and social history. The most 
important result from the point of view of constitutional history was the 
endowment of a new nobility out of the spoils. The approximate yearly 
value of lands granted by free gift, or by sale, sometimes at a nominal price, 
was ;^90,ooo, the number of grantees being about 1000*. A great part of 
what remained was let out by the Crown on lease. The largest grantees — 
those receiving lands worth more than ;^200 a year — were 1 5 peers and 30 
commoners, nearly all of the latter being in the service of the King*. Thus 

^ Professor Savine (pp. 1 14-1 5) points out that this classification into 'smaller' 
and 'greater' houses is of the roughest kind. The houses realty fall into five groups — 
53 with less than ;£20 a year; 188 from £,^0 to £100; 199 from £icxo to ^^306; 89 
from ;f300 to £1000; and 24 with more than j^iooo — reckoning by the net in- 
come. The monasteries with a net income from ;^20 to ,£300 are almost z\ times 
the number of all the rest. 

2 Savine, p. 100. ' Savine, p. 189. 

* Gasquet (ii, 438) gives ,£1,423,500, as the c^h value of the spoils to the 
King, of which £8 5,000 was the melting-price of gold and silver plate. 

* These figures, from Dr Savine's researches, are given in Fisher, p. 497. They 
do not include grants of monastic land in Wales. The sales and leases greatly pre- 
ponderated over the gifts (p. 482). 

* ' If ever the poet's fiction of a golden shower rained into Danae's lap found a 
moral or rear performance, it was now, at the dissipation of abbeys-lands. . .it is 
certain that in this age small merits of courtiers met with a prodigious recompense 
for their service' (Fuller, ii, 248). 

s— « 


an influential dass of English society was committed to the support of the 
King's ecclesiastical policy', and the arrangement was not upset, even in the 
reign of Mary. 

(3) Bishoprics Act, 1539 

The preamble of this statute, which passed through all its stages in both 
Houses in one day, suggests various ways in which the spoils of the monas- 
teries might have been employed for the benefit of the Church and of educa- 
tion. The need for new bishoprics was urgent, and the first schemej that of 
1534, provided for 26 new suffragan sees'^. In 1539 the number of new 
bishoprics contemplated was 1 8. The number actually founded was only six 
— Chester, Peterborough, Gloucester, Oxford, Bristol, and Westminster; 
and the last did not long survive its foundation. 

An Act for the King to make Bishops 

Forasmuch as it is not unknown the slothful and ungodly life 
which hath been used amongst all those sort which have borne the 
name of religious folk, and to the intent that from henceforth 
many of them might be turned to better use as hereafter shall 
follow, whereby God's word might the better be set forth, 
children brought up in learning, clerks nourished in the Univer- 
sities, old servants decayed to have livings, almshouses for poor 
folk to be sustained in. Readers of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin to 
have good stipend, daily alms to be ministered, mending of high- 
ways, exhibition^ for ministers of the Church; It is thought there- 
fore unto the King's Highness most expedient and necessary that 
more bishoprics, collegiate and cathedral churches shall be estab- 
lished, instead of these foresaid religious houses, within the 
foundation whereof these other titles afore rehearsed shall be 
established; Be it therefore enacted by authority of this present 
Parliament that his Highness shall have full power and authority 
from time to time to declare and nominate, by his letters patents 
or other writings to be made under his great seal, such number 
of bishops, such number of cities sees for bishops, cathedral 
churches, and dioceses, by meets* and bounds for the exercise and 
ministration of their episcopal offices and administration as shall 
appertain, and to endow them with such possessions after such 
manner, form, and condition as to his most excellent wisdom 

^Bishop Creighton suggested that many of the grants were disposed by design 
so as to form a barrier to protect London from the rebels of the North and West 
(Gwatkin, p. 169). 

^Traill, iii, 65. 

* 'Exhibition* could be applied to any kind of maintenance or stipport; it was 
not limited to that assigned to students at the Universities. 

^ 'Mete' is a boundary or limit. 'Meets and bounds' is a common legal phrase. 


shall be thought necessary and convenient; and also shall have 
power and authority to make and devise translations, ordinances, 
rules, and statutes concerning them all and every of them, and 
further to do all and every other thing and things whatsoever it 
shall be which shall be devised and thought requisite, convenient^ 
and necessary by his most excellent wisdom and discretion for 
the good perfection and accomplishment of all and singular his 
said most godly and gracious purposes and intents touching the 
premises, or any other charitable or godly deeds to be devised by 
his Highness concerning the same; And that all and singular 
such translations, nominations of bishops cities sees and limitation 
of dioceses for bishops, erections, establishments, foundations, 
ordinances, statutes, rules, and all and every other thing and 
things which shall be devised, comprised, and expressed by his 
Grace's sundry and several letters patents or other writings under 
his great seal touching and concerning the premises or any of 
them, or any circumstances or dependences thereof necessary and 
requisite for the perfection of the premises or any of them, shall 
be of as good strength, force, value, and effect to all intents and 
purposes as if such things that shall so be devised, expressed, and 
mentioned in his letters patents or other writings under his great 
seal had been done, made, and had by authority of Parliament. ' 
31 Henr. VIII, c. 9: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 728. 

(4) Extracts 

The extracts which follow indicate the attitude with regard to ecclesi- 
astical abuses adopted by the greater contemporary churchmen, and aidis^ 
tinguished layman like Sir Thomas More. The Supplication of Beggars has 
been includea to show the worst that hostile critics said of the Church. 

I. John Colet, 151 i 

John Colet, the friend of Erasmus, Dean of St Paul's and founder of St Paul's 
School, was an unsparing critic of clerical abuses. The sermon of 151 1, preached 
before Convocation in St Paul's, is directed against the shortcomings of the secular 
clergy; but something must be allowed for the rhetorical form naturally adopted by 
a preacher. Colet's attitude towards monasticism is shewn by the quotation from 
Erasmus printed below (p. 73). 

. . , To exhort you, reverend fathers, to the endeavour of 
reformation of the Church's estate (because that nothing hath so 
disfigured the face of the Church as hath the fashion of secular 
and worldly living in clerks and priests) I know not where more 
conveniently to take beginning of my tale than of the Apostle 
Paul, in whose temple ye are gathered together. . ..'Be you not' 
(saith he) 'conformable to this world.' 


The apostle calleth the world the ways and manner of secular 
living, the which chiefly doth rest in four evils of this world: that 
is to say, in devilish pride, in carnal concupiscence, in worldly 
covetousness, in secular business. These are in the world, as St 
John the apostle witnesseth in his epistle canonical. For he saith: 
'All thing that is in the world' is either the 'concupiscence of the 
flesh' or the 'concupiscence of the eyes,' or 'pride of life.' The 
same are now and reign in the Church, and in men of the Church; 
that we may seem truly to say, all thing that is in the Church is 
either concupiscence of flesh or eyes, or pride of life. 

And first for to speak of pride of life: how much greediness 
and appetite of honour and dignity is now-a-days in men of the 
Church.? How run they, yea, almost out of breath, from one 
benefice to another; from the less to the more, from the lower to 
the higher.'' Who seeth not this.? Who seeing this sorroweth not.? 
Moreover, these that are in the same dignities, the most part of 
them doth go with so stately a countenance and with so high looks, 
that they seem not to be put in the humble bishopric of Christ, 
but rather in the high lordship and power of the world, . . . 

The second secular evil is carnal concupiscence. Hath not 
this vice so growen and waxen in the Church as a flood of their 
lust, so that there is nothing looked for more diligently in this 
most busy time of the most part of priests than that that doth 
delight and please the senses ? They give themselves to feasts and 
banquetting; they spend themselves in vain babbling; they give 
themselves to sports and plays; they apply themselves to hunting 
and hawking; they drown themselves in the delights of this world. 
Procurers and finders of lusts they set by. . . . 

Covetousness is the third secular evil, the which St John the 
apostle calleth concupiscence of the eyes. St Paul calleth it 
idolatry. This abominable pestilence hath so entered in the 
mind almost of all priests^ and so hath blinded the eyes of the 
mind, that we are blind to all things but only unto those which 
seem to bring unto us some gains. For what other thing seek we 
now-a-days in the Church than fat benefices and high promotions .? 
Yea, and in the same promotions, of what other thing do we pass 
upon than of our tithes and rents ? that we care not how many, 
how chargeful, how great benefices we take, so that they be of 
great value. O covetousness 1 St Paul justly called thee the root of 
all evil. Of thee cometh this heaping of benefices upon benefice. 
Of thee, so great pensions assigned of many benefices resigned. 
Of thee, all the suing for tithes, for offering, for mortuaries, for 
dilapidations, by the right and title of the Church. For the which 


thing we strive ho less than for our own life. O covetousness ! of 
thee Cometh these chargeful visitations of bishops. Of thee 
Cometh the corruptness of courts, and these daily new inventions 
wherewith the silly^ people are so sore vexed. Of thee cometh the 
busyty^ and wantonness of officials. O covetousness 1 mother of 
all iniquity, of thee cometh this fervent study of ordinaries to 
dilate their jurisdictions. Of thee cometh this wood^ and raging 
contention in ordinaries; of thee, insinuation* of testaments; of 
thee cometh the undue sequestration of fruits; of thee cometh the 
superstitious daserving of all those laws that sound^ to any lucre, 
setting aside and despising those that concern the amendment of 
manners. What should I rehearse the rest.'' To be short, and to 
conclude at one word: all corruptness, all the decay of the Church, 
all the offences of the world, come of the covetousness of priests; 
according to that of St Paul, that here I repeat again and beat into 
your ears, ' Covetousness is the root of all evil.' 

The fourth secular evil that spotteth and maketh ill-favoured 
the face of the Church, is the continual secular occupation wherein 
priests and bishops now-a-days doth busy themselves, the servants 
rather of men than of Gk)d; the warriors rather of this world than 
of Christ. . . . 

... In this time also we perceive contradiction of the lay 
people. But they are not so much contrary unto us as we are our- 
-selves; nor their contrariness hurteth not us so much as the con- 
trariness of our evil life, the which is contrary both to God and 
Christ. . . . 

. . . The way whereby the Church may be reformed into 
better fashion is not for to make new laws. For there be laws 
many enough and out of number. . . . Therefore it is no need 
that new laws and constitutions be made, but that those that are 
made already be kept. ... 

First, let those laws be rehearsed that do warn you fathers 
that ye put not over soon your hands on every man, or admit unto 
holy orders. For there is the well of evils, that, the broad gate of 
holy orders opened, every man that ofFereth himself is allwhere^ 
admitted without pulling back. Thereof springeth and cometh 
out the people that are in the Church both of unlearned and evil 
priests''. . . . 

Let the laws be rehearsed that command that benefices of the 

1 Unlearned, simple, ignorant. ^ Officiousness, fussiness. * Mad. 

* In the legal sense, tie production of a will for registration with a view to 
obtaining probate. * Tend. 

6 Everywhere. ' Cf. Sir Thomas More, p. 74 below. 


Church be given to those that are worthy; and that promotions 
be made in the Church by the right balance of virtue, not by 
carnal affection, not by the acception of persons^; whereby ■ it 
happeneth now-a-days that boys for old men, fools for wise men, 
evil for good, do reign and rule. 

Let the laws be rehearsed that warreth against the spot of 
simony. The which corruption, the which infection, the which 
cruel and odible^ pestilence, so creepeth now abroad, as the 
canker evil in the minds of priests, that many of them are not 
afraid now-a-days both by prayer and service, rewards and pro- 
mises, to get them great dignities. 

Let the laws be rehearsed that command personal residence 
of curates in their churches. For of this many evils grow, because 
all things now-a-days are done by vicars and parish priests; yea, 
and those foolish also and unmeet, and oftentimes wicked; that 
seek none other thing in the people than foul lucre, whereof 
Cometh occasion of evil heresies and ill Christendom* in the 

Let be rehearsed the laws and holy rules given of fathers, of 
the life and hooesty of clerks; that forbid that a clerk be no 
merchant, that he be no usurer, that he be no hunter, that he be 
no common player, that he bear no weapon; the laws that forbid 
clerks to haunt taverns, that forbid them to have suspect familiar- 
ity with women; the laws that command soberness, and a measure- 
ableness in apparel, and temperance in adorning of the body. 

Let be rehearsed also to my lords these monks, canons, and 
religious men the laws that command them to go the strait way 
that leadeth unto Heaven, leaving the broad way of the world; 
that commandeth them not to turmoil themselves in business, 
neither secular nor other; that command that they sow not in 
princes' courts for earthly things. For it is in the Council of 
Chalcedon that monks ought only to give themselves to prayer 
and fasting, and to the chastening of their flesh, and observing; of 
their rules, • , 

Above all things, let the laws be rehearsed that pertain and 
concern you, my reverend fathers and lords bishops, laws of your 
just and canonical election in the chapters of your churches with 
the calling of the Holy Ghost. For because that is not done now- 
a-days, and because prelates are chosen oftentimes more by favour 
of men than by the grace of God, therefore truly have we not a 
few times bishops full little spiritual men, rather worldly than 

^ Corrupt acceptance, or favouritism. ^ Hateful. 

* Christianity. 


heavenly, savouring more the spirit of this world than the spirit 
of Christ. 

Let the laws be rehearsed of the residence of bishops in their 
dioceses; that command that they look diligently and take heed 
to the health of souls; that they sow the word of God; that they 
shew themselves in their churches at the least on great holy days; 
that they do sacrifice for their people; that they hear the causes 
and matters of poor men; that they sustain fatherless children and 
widows; that they exercise themselves in works of virtue. 

Let the laws be rehearsed of the good bestowing of the 
patrimony of Christ: the laws that command that the goods of the 
Church be spent, not in costly building, not in sumptuous apparel 
and pomps, not in feasting and banquetting, not in excess and 
wantonness, not in enriching of kinsfolk, not in keeping of dogs, 
but in things profitable and necessary to the Church. . . . 

J. H. Lupton, Life of John Colet (1887), pp. 293-304. 


. . . Though no one approved of Christian devotion more than 
[Colet], yet he had but very little liking for monasteries — un- 
deserving of the name as many of them now are. The gifts he 
bestowed upon them were either none, or the smallest possible; 
and he left them no share of his property even at his death. The 
reason was not that he disliked religious orders, but that those 
who took them did not come up to their profession. It was, in 
fact, his own wish to disconnect himself entirely from the world, 
if he could only have found a fraternity anywhere really bound 
together for a Gospel life. . . . 

Quoted in J. H. Lupton, Life of John Colet, p. 216. 

2. Sir Thomas More, 1528 

More's Dialogue, completed in 1528, is chiefly directed against Luther and 
Tindal. He was hostile to Luther*s attempt to reform the Church from withoutj but 
he admitted the existence of abuses. 

. . . But yet where ye speak of other countries, making an 
argument that our clergy is the worst of all other, I wot well the 
whole world is so wretched that spiritual and temporal everywhere 
all be bad enough, God make us all better. But yet for that I 
have myself seen and by credible folk have heard, like as ye say 
by our temporalty that we be as good and as honest as anywhere 
else, so dare I boldly say that the spiritualty of England, and 
specially that part in which ye find most fault, that is to wit that 
part which we commonly call the secular clergy, is in learning 


and honest living well able to match, and (saving the comparisons 
be odious, I would say farther) far able to overmatch, number for 
number, the spiritualty of any nation christened. I wot well there 
be therein many very lewd and naught; and surely wheresoever 
there is- a multitude it is not without miracle well possible to be 
otherwise. But now if the bishops would once take unto priest- 
hood better laymen and fewer (for of us be they made) all the 
matter were more than half amended. Now where ye say that ye 
see more vice in them than in ourselves, truth it is that everything^ 
in them is greater because they be more bounden to be better^. 
But else the things that they misdo be the selfsame that we sin 
in ourselves, which vices that, as ye say, we see more in them 
than in ourselves; the cause is, I suppose, for we look more upon 
theirs than on our own. . . . Would God we were all of the mind 
that every man thought no man so bad as himself, for that were 
the way to mend both them and us. Now, they blame us, and we 
blame them, and both blameworthy, and either part more ready 
to find others' faults than to- mend their own. For in reproach of 
them we be so studious that neither good nor bad passeth unre- 
proved. If they be familiar, we call them light. solitary, 
we call them fantastic^. If they be sad, we call them solemn, if 
they be merry, we call them mad. If they be comprynable^, we 
call them vicious. If they be holy, we call them hypocrites. If 
they keep few servants, we call them niggards. If they keep many, 
we call them pompous. If a lewd priest do a lewd deed, then we 
say, Ipl see what sample the clergy giveth us, as though that 
priest were the clergy. But then forget we to look what good 
men be therein, and what good counsel they give us, and what 
good ensample they shew us. But we fare as do the ravens and 
the carrion crows, that never meddle with any quick flesh, but 
where they may find a deadjdog in a ditch thereto they flee and 
thereon they feed apace. So where we see a good man, and hear 
and see a good thing, there we take little heed. But when we see 
once an evil deed, thereon we gape, thereof we talk, and feed 
ourselves all day with the filthy delight of evil communication. 
Let a good man preach, a short tale shall serve us thereof, and we 
shall neither much regard his exhortation nor his good examples. 
But let a lewd friar be taken with a wench,: we will jest and rail 

1 This point is also taken by Thomas Starkey; see p. 84 below. 

2 Fanciful or capricious; the sixteenth century sense of the word is much less 
strong than the modern sense. 

* Probably an error for 'compynable,' a variant of 'companable' = sociable, 


upon the whole order all the year after, and say, lol what sample 
they give us. . .(p. 225). 

. . , And whereof is there now such plenty as of priests ? , . . 
Now runneth every rascal and boldly ofFereth himself for able. 
And where the dignity passeth all prince's, and they that lewd^ 
be desireth it for worldly winning, yet cometh that sort thereto 
with such a mad mind that they reckon almost God much bounden 
to them that they vouchsafe to take it. But were I Pope-r- 

By my soul, quoth he^, I would ye were, and my lady your 
wife Popess too. 

Well, quoth I, then should she devise for nuns. And as for 
me, touching the choice of priests, I could not well devise better 
provisions thai), are by the laws of the Church pro-\^ded already, 
if they were as well kept as they be well made. But for the number, 
I would surely see such a way therein that we should not have 
such a rabble that every mean man must have a priest in his 
house to wait upon his wife, which no man almost lacketh now, to 
the contempt of priesthood in as vile office as his horse-keeper. 

That is, quoth he, truth indeed — and in worse too, for they 
keep hawks and dogs. And yet meseemeth surely a more honest 
service to wait on an horse than on a dog. 

And yet I suppose, quoth I, if the laws of the Church which 
Luther and Tindal would have all broken were all well observed 
and kept, this gear should not be thus, but the number of priests 
would be much minished and the remnant much better. For it is 
by the laws of the Church provided, to the intent no priest 
should unto the slander of the priesthood be driven to live in such 
lewd manner or worse, there should none be admitted unto priest- 
hood until he have a title of a sufficient yearly living, either of 
his own patrimony or otherwise. Nor at this day they be none 
otherwise accepted. t 

Why, quoth he, wherefore go there then so many of them a 
begging ? 

Marry, quoth I, for they delude the law and themselves also. 
For they never have grant of a living that may serve them in 

1 'Lewd' here='lay' — used in the common medieval sense oilaicus, 'unlearned.' 
Probably the sense is that the dignity of the priesthood is so high that laymen ('they 
that lewd be') seek it for worldly advantage. 

2 The other party to the dialogue is supposed to be a young university student 
who had been attracted by the teaching of Tindal, and is now sent by 'a worshipful 
friend' of More's, 'with certain credence,' to discuss vidth him the matters to which 
the book refers and so to be won back from error. The whole conversation is imagin- 
ary, but it is a vehicle for More's views. The scene of the dialogue is his library at 


sight for that purpose but they secretly discharge it ere they have 
it, or else they could not get it. And thus the Bishop is blinded 
by the sight of the writing, and the priest goeth a-begging for all 
his grant of a good living, and the law is deluded, and the order 
is rebuked by the priest's begging and levid living, which either 
is fain to walk at rovers^ and live upon trentals^ or worse, or else 
to serve in a secular man's house, which should not need if this 
gap were stopped. For ye should have priests few enough if the 
law were truly observed that none were made but he that were 
without collusion sure of a living already. 

Then might it hap, quoth he, that ye might have too few to 
serve the rooms and livings that be provided for them, except the 
prelates would provide that orders were not so commonly given, 
but alway receive into orders as rooms and livings fall void to 
bestow them in, and no faster. 

Surely, quoth I, for aught I see suddenly^, that would not be 
much amiss. For so should they need no such titles at all, nor 
should need neither run at rovers nor live in laymen's houses, by 
reason whereof there groweth among* no little corruption in the 
priests' manners by the conversation of lay people and company of 
women in their houses. 

Nay, by our Lady, quoth he, I will not agree with you therein. 
For I think they cannot lightly^ meet with much worse company 
than themselves, and that they rather corrupt us than we them . . . 
(pp. 227-8). 

Sir Thomas More, ji Dialogue concerning Heresies {Works, ed. i557)- 

3. Simon Fish, 1528 

A Supplication for the Beggars, written in 1528, is one of the most violent 
attacks upon the Church and the clergy that the Reformation produced — ^indeed, 
it is so violent as to suggest deliberate exaggeration with humorous intent. Many 
copies of it were circulated in London just before the meetjng of the Reformation 
Parliament, as it was excellent propaganda, and expressed in a popular form the 
general dissatisfaction with the Church which was prevailing at the time. It 
is impossible to accept the statements of the author^ but the interest of his work 
lies in the fact that diere was something in the public mind whic;h responded to if. 
The Supplication for the Beggars was of sufficient importance to draw a reply from 
Sir Thomas More entitled A Supplication of Souls (p. 79), and it served as a model 
for a series of pamphleteers*. 

Most lamentably complaineth their woeful misery unto your 
Highness your poor daily bedemen, the wretched, hideous mon- 

^ At random, without any definite object. 

^ /. e. live by saying requiem masses. See note on p. 104 below. 

^ /. e. on the spur of the moment. 

* Meanwhile. ^ Easily. « Z).iV.5. xix, 51. 


sters (on whom scarcely for horror any eye dare look), the foul, 
unhappy sort of lepers and other sore people, needy, impotent, 
blind, lame, and sick, that live only by alms, how that their num- 
ber is daily so sore increased that all the alms of all the well-dis- 
posed people of this your realm is not half enough for to sustain 
them, but that for very constraint they die for hunger. And this 
most pestilent mischief is come upon'your said poor bedemen by 
the reason for that there is, in the times of your noble predecessors 
passed, craftily crept into this your realm another sort, not of im- 
potent, but of strong, puissant, and counterfeit holy and idle 
beggars and vagabonds, which, since the time of their first entry 
by all the craft and wiliness of Satan, are now inqreased under 
your sight, not only into a great number but also into a kingdom. 
These are not the herds^ but the ravenous wolves going in herds' 
clothing devouring the flock — ^the bishops, abbots, priors, deacons, 
archdeacons, suffragans, priests, monks, canons, friars, pardoners, 
and sumners^* And who is able to number this idle, ravenous sort, 
which (setting all labour aside) have begged so importunately 
that they have gotten into their hands more than the third part 
of all your realm. The goodliest lordships, manors, lands, and 
territories are theirs. Besides this they have the tenth part of all 
the corn, meadow, pasture, grass, wool, colts, calves, lambs, pigs, 
geese, and chickens. Over and besides, the tenth part of every 
servant's wages, the tenth part of the wool, milk, honey, wax, 
cheese, and butter. Yea, and they look so narrowly upon their 
profits that the poor wives must be countable to them of every 
tenth egg, or else she getteth not her rights at Easter, shall be 
taken as an heretic. . . . What money pull they in by probates of 
testaments, privy tithes, and hymen's offerings to their pilgrimages 
and at their first masses ? Every man and child that is buried must 
pay somewhat for masses and diriges to be sung for him, or else they 
will accuse the dead's friends and executors of heresy. What money 
get theyby mortuaries^, by hearing of confessions (and yet they will 
keep thereof no counsel), by hallowing of churches, altars, super- 
altars*, chapels, and bells, by cursing of men and absolving them 
again for money.? What a multitude of money gather the par- 
doners in a year ? How much money get the sumners by extortion 
in a year, by citing the people to the commissary's court^ and 
afterwards releasing the appearance for money? Finally, the 

1 Shepherds. * A summoning officer in an ecclesiastical court. 

' See p. 1 3 above. 

* A portable stone slab consecrated for use upon an unconsecrated altar or table. 

* The court of a bishop's commissary; see p. 358 below. 


infinite number of begging friars; what get they in a year?. . . Is 
it any marvel that the taxes, fifteenths, and subsidies that yoUi- 
Grace most tenderly of great compassion hath taken among yout 
people to defend them from the threatened ruin of their common- 
wealth have been so slothfiiUy, yea, painfully levied, seeing that 
almost the utmost penny that might have been levied hath been 
gathered before yearly by this ravenous, cruel, and insatiable 
generation?. . .(pp. 1-3). 

And what do all these greedy sort of sturdy, idle, holy thieves 
with these yearly exactions that they take of the people? Truly 
nothing but exempt themselves from the obedience of your Gracdi 
Nothing but translate all rule, power, lordship, authority, obedi- 
ence, and dignity from your Grace unto them. Nothing but that 
all your su^'ects should fall into disobedience and rebellion 
against your Grace, and be under them. As they did unto youf 
noble predecessor, King John; which for because that he would 
have punished certain traitors that had conspired with the French 
king to have deposed him from his crown and dignity, . . . inter- 
dicted his land. For the which matter your most noble realm 
wrongfully (alas, for shame I) hath stood tributary, not unto any 
kind temporal prince but unto a cruel, devilish bloodsupper, 
drunken in the blood of the saints and martyrs of Christ, ever 
since. Here were an holy sort of prelates, that thus cruelly could 
punish such a righteous King, all his realm and succession, for 
doing right!... (pp. 4-5) 

. . . Yea, and what do they more ? Truly nothing but apply them- 
selves, by all the sleights they may, to have to do with every man's 
wife, every man's daughter, and every man's maid.. . .These h6 
they that by their abstaining from marriage do let^ the generation 
of the people, whereby all the realm at length, if it should be con- 
tinued, shall be made desert and inhabitable^. ... (p. 6). 

What remedy make laws against them? I am in doubt 
whether ye be able. Are they not stronger in your own Parliament 
House than yourself? What a number of bishops, abbots, and 
priors are Lords of your Parliament?. . .Who is he (though he 
be grieved never so sore) . . . dare lay it to their charge by any 
way of action ? And if he do, then is he by-and-by^ by their wiliness 
accused of heresy. . . . So captive are your laws unto them, that no 
man that they list to excommunicate may be admitted to sue any 
action in any of your courts*. If any man in your sessions dare be 
so hardy to indict a priest, ... he hath, ere the year go out, such 

1 Hinder. 2 Uninhabited. » Immediately. * Seep. 357 below. 


a yoke of heresy laid in his neck that it maketh hirp. wish he had 
not done it.. . .(p. 8). 

. . . This is the great scab^ why they will not let the New 
Testament go abroad in your mother tongue, lest men should 
espy that they by their cloaked hypocrisy do translate thus fast 
your kingdom into their hands, that they are not obedient unto 
your high power^, that they are cruel, unclean, unmerciful, and 
hypocrites, that they seek not the honour of Christ but their own, 
that remission of sins are not given by the Pope's pardon but by 
Christ, for the sure faith and truth that we have in him. . . . Set 
these sturdy loobies^ abroad in the world. . . to get their Uving with 
their labour in the sweat of their faces according to the command- 
ment of God, Gen. iii, to give other idle people by their example 
occasion to go to labour. Tie these holy, idle thieves to the carts 
to be whipped naked about every market town till they will fall 
to labour, that they by their importunate begging take not away 
the alms that the good Christian people would give unto us sore, 
impotent, miserable people your bedemen. Then shall as well the 
number of our foresaid monstrous sort, as of the bawds, whores, 
thieves, and idle people decrease. Then shall these great yearly 
exactions cease. Then shall not your sword, power, crown, dignity, 
and obedience of your people be translated from you. Then shall 
you have full obedience of your people. Then shall the idle people 
be set to work. Then shall matrimony be much better kept. Then 
shall the generation of your people be increased. Then shall your 
commons increase in riches. Then shall the gospel be preached. 
Then shall none beg our alms from us. Then shall we have enough 
and more than shall suffice us; which shall be the best hospital 
that ever was founded for us. Then shall we daily pray to God for 
your most noble estate long to endure, (pp. il, 14—15.) 

Simon Fish, Z4 Supplication for the Btggeiri (ed. F. J. 
Furnivall, Early English Text Society, 1871, esrtra 
series, No. 13, pp. i— 15). Also printed in Arber's 
Envlish Scholar's Library, No. 4, 1878. 

4. Sir Thomas More, 1529 

More's Supplicatien of Souls is a reply to Fish. The souls in purgatory discuss 
various questions, and among them the arguments of Fish in favour of a general 
confiscation of the property of the Church. 

. . . And yet as though because he hath said it he had therefore 
proved it, he runneth forth in his railing rhetoric against the 

1 Here applied figuratively, as to moral or spiritual disease. 

* Cf. Henry VIII's speech to the Commons (p. 22 above). * Louts. 


whole clergy, and that in such a sort and fashion that very hard it 
were to discern whether it be more false and more foolish. For 
first, all the faults that any lewd priest or friar doeth, all that layeth 
he to the whole clergy, as well and as wisely as though he would 
lay the faults of some lewd lay people to the default and blame of 
all the whole temporalty. But this way liketh him so well, that 
thus laying to the whole clergy the faults of such as be simple and 
faulty therein, and yet not only laying to their charge the breach of 
chastity and abuse in fleshly living of such as be naught, but also 
madly like a fond^ fellow laying much more to their charge, and 
much more earnestly reproving the good and honest living of those 
that be good, whom he rebuketh and abhorreth because they keep 
their vows and persevere in chastity (for he sayeth that they be the 
marrers and destroyers of the realm, bringing the land into wilder- 
ness for lack of generation by their abstaining from wedding) then 
aggrieveth^ he his great crimes with heinous words, gay repeti- 
tions, and grievous exclamations, calling them bloodsuppers, and 
drunken in the blood of holy martyrs and saints, which he meaneth 
for the condemning of holy heretics. Greedy golophers* he calleth 
them and insatiable whirlpools, because the temporalty hath given 
them possessions and give to the friars their alms. . . (p. 295). 

. . . Like truth is there in this that he saith, if any man trouble 
a priest for any temporal suit, the clergy forthwith will make him 
an heretic and burn him, but if he be content to bear a faggot for 
their pleasure. The falsehood of this cannot be unknown. For 
men know well in many a shire how often that many folk indict 
priests of rape at the sessions*. And as there is sometime a rapie 
committed in deed, so is there ever a rape surmised were the 
woman never so willing, and oftentime where there was nothing 
done at all. And yet of any such that so procured priests to be 
indicted, how many have men heard taken and accused for here- 
tics. . .(p. 297). 

. . . He layeth unto the charge of the clergy that they live idle 
all, and that they be all bound to labour and get their living in 
the sweat of their faces by the precept that God gave to Adam in 
the first chapter of Genesis. . . (p. 303). 

. . . But it is good to look betime what this beggar's proctor^ 
meaneth by this commandment of hand labour that he speaketh 
of. For if he confess that it bindeth not every man, then is it laid 
to no purpose against the clergy; for there was a small clergy 

1 Foolish. 2 Aggravates. s Gluttons. 

* In successfully meeting the argument that the law of heresy is used to protect 
the priests, More here makes an important admission. * Advocate. 


when that word was said to our first father Adam. But now if ye 
call it a precept, as he doth, and then will that it extend unto all 
the whole kind^ of man, as a thing by God commanded unto 
Adam and all his offspring, then, though he say little now, he 
meaneth to go farther hereafter than he speaketh of yet. For if he 
might first have the clergy put out of their living and all that they 
have clean taken from them, and might have them joined to these 
beggars that be now, and over that added unto them and send 
a-begging too all those that the clergy find^ now full honestly — 
this pageant once played, and his beggars' bill so well sped, then 
when the beggars should have so much less living and be so 
many more in multitude, surely likewise as for the beggars he 
now maketh his bilP to the King's Highness against bishops,, 
abbots, priors, prelates, and priests, so would he then within a 
while after make another bill to the people against merchants^ 
gentlemen, kings, lords, and princes, and complain that they have 
all, and say that they do nothing for it but live idle, and that they 
be commanded in Genesis to live by the labour of their hands in 
the sweat of their faces^ as he saith by the clergy now. Wherein if 
they ween that they shall stand in other case than the clergy doth 
now, they may peradventure sore deceive themselves. For if they 
will think that their case shall not be called all one because they 
have lands and goods to live upon, they must consider so hath the 
clergy too. But that is the thing that this beggars' proctor com- 
plaineth upon, and would have them taken away. Now if the landed 
men suppose that their case shall not seem one with the case of 
the clergy, because they shall haply think that the Church hath 
their possessions given them for causes which they fulfil not, and 
that if their possessions happen to be taken from them it shall be 
done upon that ground, and so the lay landed men out of that 
fear, because they think that such like occasion and ground and 
consideration faileth and cannot be found in them and their in- 
heritance — surely if any man, clerk or lay, have lands in the gift 
whereof hath been any condition adjoined which he fulfilleth not, 
the giver may well with reason use therein such advantage as the 
law giveth him. But on the other side, whoso will advise princes 
or lay people to take from the clergy their possessions, alleging 
matters at large, as laying to their charge that they live not as 
they should nor use not well their possessions, and therefore 
it were well done to take them from them by force and dispose 
them better — we dare boldly say, whoso giveth this device, as 

1 Race. ^ Provide for. ^ Plea or indictment. 

T.D. 6 


now doth this beggar's proctor, we would give you counsel; to 
look well, what will follow. For he shall not fail, as we said before, 
if this bill of his were sped, to find you soon after in a new suppli- 
cation new bald^ reasons enough that should please the people's 
ears, wherewith he would labour to have lords' lands and all 
honest men's goods to be pulled from them by force and dis- 
tributed among beggars. . .(p. 304—5). 

Sir Thomas More, A Supplication of Souls {Works^ ed. 1557). 

5. Thomas Starkey, 1535 and 1536 

With the diatribes of Simon Fish should be compared the judicious, statesman- 
like, and temperately-expressed views of Thomas Starkey* These are contained in 
an imaginary dialogue between Thomas Lupsetand Cardinal Pole, probably written 
in the early part of 1535^ for the satisfaction of Henry VIII, and also in a letter 
addressed to the King in 1536*. Lupset, a friend of Pole, and also of More and 
Erasmus, died in 1 530, five years before the dialogue was written. 

Pole. ... A great part of these people which we have here in 
our country is either idle or ill occupied. . . . First, look what an 
idle rout our noblemen keep and nourish in their houses, which 
do nothing else but carry dishes to the table and eat them when 
they have done; and after, giving themselves to hunting, hawking^ 
dicing, carding, and all other idle pastimes and vain, as though 
they were born to nothing else at all. Look to our bishops and 
prelates of the realm, whether they follow not the same trade in 
nourishing such an idle sort, spending their possessions and good^, 
which were to them given to be distributed among them which 
were oppressed with poverty and necessity. Look, furthermore, 
to priests, monks, friars, and canons, with all their adherents and 
idle train, and you shall find also among them no small number 
idle and unprofitable, which be nothing but burdens to the earth. 
Insoniuch that if you after this manner examine the multitude in 
every order and degree, you shall find, as I think, the third part 
of our people living in idleness, as persons to the common weal 
utterly unprofitable; and to all good civihty much like unto the 
drone bees in a hive, which do nothing else but consume and 
devour all such thing as the busy and good bee with diligence and 
labour gathereth together. . .(pp. 76—7). , ,, 

. . . Princes and lords seldom look to the good order and 
wealth of their subjects; only they look to the receiving of their 
rents and revenues of their lands, with great study of enhancing 

thereof to the further maintaining of their pompous state 

Bishops also and prelates of the Church, you see how little regard 

1 Trivial, paltry. 2 Gairdner, iii, p. xixvii. 

3 Z>.Af.5.1iv, no. 


they have of their flock. So that they may have the wool, they 
little care for the simple sheep, but let them wander in wild forests 
in danger of wblves daily to be devoured. . .(p. 85). 

. . . And how think you by the law which admitteth to religion^ 
of all sorts, youth of all age almost; insomuch that you shall see 
some friars whom you would judge to be born in the habit, they 
are so little and young admitted thereto.''. . .(p. 127). 

. . . How think you by the manner used with our bishops, 
abbots, and priors touching the nourishing also of a great sort of 
idle abbey-lubbers which are apt to nothing but, as the bishops 
and abbots be, only to eat and drink.? Think you this a laudable 
custom and to be admitted in any good policy? 

Lupset. Nay, surely this I cannot allow, it is so evident a 
fault to every man's eye; for by this mean^ all the possessions of 
the Church are spent as ill as the possessions of temporal men, 
contrary to the institution of the law and all good civility. . . . 

Pole. There is another great fault which is the ground of 
all other almost, and that is concerning the education of them 
which appoint themselves to be men of the Church. They are not 
brought up in virtue and learning, as they should be, nor well 
approved therein before they be admitted to such high dignity. 
It is not convenient men without learning to occupy the place of 
them which should preach the word of God, and teach the people 
the laws of religion, of the which commonly they are most ignor- 
ant themselves; for commonly you shall find that the^ can nothing 
do but patter up their matins and mass, mumbling up a certain 
number of words nothing understood. 

' Lupset. Sir, you say in this plain truth; I cannot nor .will not 
this deny. 

Pole.' Yeaj and yet another thing. Let it be that the priests 
were unlearned, yet if they were of perfect life and studious of 
virtue, that by their example they might teach other, this ignor- 
ance yet might be the better suffered; but now to that ignorance 
is joined all kind of vice, all mischief and vanity, insomuch that 
they are example of all vicious life to the lay people. How 
say you, Master Lupset, is not this also a plain truth and 
manifest } 

Lupset. Yes, truly, insomuch that almost the infants now 
born into the light perceive it plainly. There is no man that Iboketh 
into our manner of living that may doubt of this . . . (pp. 131 -3). 

Pole. And as for this ignorance arid vicious life of the clergy, 
no man can it deny but he that, perverting the order of all things, 
1 /. e. to the cloister. ^ See note on p. 65 above. 



will take vice for virtue and virtue for vice. And though it be so 
that the temporalty live much after the same trade, yet meseemeth 
they are not so much to be blamed as they which for the purity 
of life are called spiritual^; forasmuch as they should be the light, 
as it is said in the Gospel, unto the other, and not only by word, but 
much more by example of life, whereby chiefly they should induce 
the rude people to the train of virtue^. Wherefore surely this is 
no small fault in our custom of life. To the which we may join 
also another ill custom, that priests be not resident upon their 
benefices, but either be in the Court or in great men's houses, 
there taking their pleasure ; by the reason whereof the people 
lack their pastors, which gather the wool diligently without 
regard of the profit of their sheep. 

Lupset. Sir^ this is as clear as the light of the sun. Wherefore 
I will not repugn therein; but I would wish that you might as 
easily hereafter see the way to amend such fault as we may see 
it... (p. 133). 

Lupset. I have thought long and many a day a great let 

to the increase of Christian people the law of chastity ordained by 
the Church, which bindeth so great a multitude of men to live 
thereafter; as all secular priests, monks, friars, canons, and nuns, 
of the which, as you know, there is no small number, by the 
reason whereof the generation of man is marvellously let and 
minished^. Wherefore, except the ordinance of the Church were 
(to the which I would never gladly rebel) I would plainly judge 
that it should be very convenient something to release the band 
of this law ... (p. 148). 

Pole. ... In this matter I think it were necessary to temper 
this law, and, at the least, to give and admit all secular priests to 
marry at their liberty, considering now the great multitude and 
number of them. But as touching monks, canons, friars, and nuns, 
I hold for a thing very convenient and meet, in all well-ordained 
commonweals, to have certain monasteries and abbeys, to the 
which all such as after lawful proof .of chastity before had may 
retire, and from the business and vanity of the world may with- 
draw themselves, wholly giving their minds to prayer, study, and 
high contemplation. . .(pp. 149—150). -; 

Lupset. Sir, of this there is no doubt but that this ordinance* 
^ Cf. Sir Thomas More, p. 74 above. * The way of virtue. j 

^ The slow growth of population in the Middle Ages was not infrequent^ 
ascribed to the ascetic teaching of the Church. See Lea, i, 449. 

* The appointment of officers in every town 'for the taking away' of 'ill-occu- 
pied persons in vain crafts,' and providing for the employment of the people *in 
honest and profitable crafts to the common weal' (p. 155). 


should be very profitable. But yet you have left the one half of 
the ill-occupied persons and nothing touched them at all. That is 
to say, these religious persons in monasteries and abbeys. 

Pole, Surely you say truth. Of them there is a great number 
and unprofitable; but, Master Lupset, as touching them, as I said 
before, I would not that these religious men with their monas- 
teries should utterly be taken away but only some good reforma- 
tion to be had of them. And, shortly to say, I would think in that 
behalf chiefly this to be a good remedy, that youth should have 
no place therein at all, but only sUch men as by fervent love of 
religion moved thereto, flying the dangers and snares of the world, 
should there have place. And if that gap were once stopped I 
dare well say their number would not be over-great: we should 
have fewer in number religious men but better in life. ... I can- 
not tell how you brought them in and numbered them among 
idle and ill-occupied persons. Howbeit, to say the truth, they are 
neither idle, as they say, neither yet well occupied. . .(p. 156). 

Lupset. Sir, ... I pray you tell me one thing that I shall ask 
of you here. What difi^erence is in this matter to send the first- 
fruits to Rome, and spend it in triumph^ here at home among 
whores and harlots and idle lubbers serving to the same purpose 
in our own nation ?^ 

Fole. Difference there is; for yet this it is spent at home in 
our own country. Howbeit, Master Lupset, here you touch 
another great fault which we noted also before in our bishops and 
abbots, which triumph no less than the temporal lords. . . .And, 
briefly to say, I would nothing in this matter but only provision 
that the order of the common law of the Church might have 
place; that is to say, that bishops should divide their possessions 
in' four parts to the use appointed by the authority of the law: the 
first to build churches and temples ruinate in their dioceses; the 
second to maintain the poor youth in study; the third to the poof 
maids and other poverty; and the fourth to find himself and his 
household with a mean^ number convenient to his dignity. Other 
provision than this needeth not at all, saving that I would have 
them to be resident upon their sees, except such as were necessary 
about the prince. And as touching abbots and priors in our 
country, I would none other but only the order of the monks of 

'^ Pomp or show. 

* This is the only reference to the more serious charges brought against some of 
the clergy, but it regards them as something notorious, and Pole is represented as 
offering no contradiction. 

^ Moderate. 


Italyi; that is to say, that every three years to choose their abbots 
and priors, and there to give reckoning of their offices cornmonly, 
and to live among his brethren and not to triumph in their 
chambers as they do, which camseth all the envy in the cloisters 
and is the occasion of the great expense of the intrate^ of the monas- 
tery, for to his table resorteth the idle company dwelling about 
him. This manner surely should be a great reformation in the 
monasteries of England. . .(p. 200). 

Thomas Starkey, England in the Reign of King Henry Fill 

(Early English Text Society, extra series, No. 32, 1878, 

Part II ed. J. M. Cowper). 

To the King's Highness 
. . . And first herein this is certain, that many there be which 
are moved to judge plainly this Act of Suppression of certain 
abbeys both tp be against the order of charity and injurious to 
them which be dead, because the founders thereof and the souls 
departed seem thereby to be defrauded of the benefit of prayer 
and^lmsdeeds there appointed to be done for their relief by their 
last will and testament; and also the common weal and politic 
order appeareth to be much hindered. and troubled by the same, 
because many poor men thereby are like to be deprived of their 
Hying and quietness, wherein lieth, as they think, no sniall in- 
jury : howbeit, as touching these causes commonly alleged, though 
they seem to be of no small weight, yet they are objected in this 
matter by manifest lack of judgment and consideration, fpr to 
me a little considering with myself the nature of this. Act, it 
appeareth plainly neither to be utterly against the order of chajrity 
neither yet the founders' wills to be broken thereby with any 
notable injury, for this is a sure ground by the order of all laws 
and by the consent of all men of learning and judgment approved, 
that though great respect ever hath been had of the last will of 
testators and much privilege granted thereto, specially when it 
pertained and tended to matters of religion, yet this I trow was 
never thought of any men of wisdom and prudence that all their 
posterity should be bounden of high necessity to the sure accom- 
plishment and full observation of their wills prescribed in testa- 
ment, and that by no means they might be changed and ordered 
to other purpose, for this is a sure truth that the will and deed of 
every private man for a common weal may be altered by the 
supreme authority in every country and kind of policy, forasmuch 

^ This is a reference to the great reform of the Congregation of Sta. Giustin* 
at Padua, * Income. 


as every man by the order of God is subject thereto and his will 
ever presupposed to be obedient to the same, insomuch that 
though he be either absent or dead yet it is alway by reason thought 
that if he were present he would give his consent to all such 
things as be judged by common authority to be expedient to the 
public weal, to the which no private will may be lawfully repug- 
nant. Wherefore albeit the last will of the testator's be by this 
Act altered with authority yet it is not broken with injury, because 
the consent of the testator is presupposed to be contained therein. 
Insomuch that it may surely be thought that if they were now 
living again and saw the present state of this world now in our 
days, how under the pretence of prayer much vice and idleness is 
nourished in these monasteries institute and founded of them, 
and how little learning and religion is taught in the same, yea, and 
how little Christian hospitality is used therein, they would per- 
adventure cry out with one voice, saying after this manner to 
princes of the world, — 'Alter these foundations which we of long 
time before did institute, and turn them to some better use and 
commodity. We never gave our possessions to this end and pur- 
pose to the which by abuse they be now applied. We thought to 
stablish houses of virtue, learning, and religion, the which now 
by the malice of man in process of time we see turned to vice, 
blindness, and superstition. We thought to stablish certain com- 
panies to live together in pure and Christian charity, wherein we 
see now reigneth much hate, rancour, and envy, much sloth, idle- 
ness, and gluttony, much ignorance, blindness, and hypocrisy, 
wherefore we cry, alter these foundations and turn them to better 
use; provide they may be as common schools to the education of 
youth in virtue and religion, out of the which you may pick men 
apt to be ordained bishops and prelates for their perfection; pro- 
vide they may be some ornament to the common weal and not as 
they be now, slanderous and therewith great detriment.' This per- 
adventure they would say unto your Highness, requiring your 
wisdom to call this matter to some like consideration, whereby it 
may appear that their wills are not utterly frustrate and broken 
by your Grace's acts. ... 

Thomas Sterkey, England in the Reign of King Henry VI 11 
(Early English Text Society, extra series, No. 32, 1878, 
Part I ed. S. J. Herrtage), p. Iv. 


6. Hugh Latimer, 1548 

Latimer's Sermon on the Plough was preached at St Paul's before Edward VI, 
18 January, 1548. Latimer was an honest partisan, and in his denunciation of 
current abuses he was carried away by the fervour of the preacher and the lure of 
alliteration; but the evils to which he refers were real, and in general he represents 
the attitude of the reformers towards them. 

. . . This much I dare say, that since lording and loitering 
hath come up, preaching hath come down, contrary to the apostles' 
times, for they preached and lorded not, and now they lord and 

preach not For ever since the prelates were made lords and 

nobles the plough standeth; there is no work done, the people 
starve. They hawk, they hunt, they card, they dice; they pastime 
in their prelacies with gallant gentlemen, with their dancing 
minions, and with their fresh companions, so that ploughing is 
set aside; and by their lording and loitering, preaching and 
ploughing is clean gone. . .(p. 66). 

. . . And now I Would ask a strange question : who is the most 
diligentest bishop and prelate in all England, that passeth all the 
rest in doing his office.? I can tell for I know him who it is; I 
know hirii well. But now I think I see you listening and hearkening 
that I should name him. There is one that passeth all the other, 
and is the most diligent prelate and preacher in all England. And 
will ye know who it is.? I will tell you: it is the Devil. He is the 
most diligent preacher of all other; he is never out of his diocese; 
he is never from his cure; ye shall never find him unoccupied; he 
is ever in his parish; he keepeth residence at all times; ye shall 
never find him out of the way, call for him when you will he is 
ever at home; the diligentest preacher in all the realm; he is ever 
at his plough; no lording nor loitering can hinder him; he is 
ever applying his business, ye shall never find him idle, I 
warrant you. And his office is to hinder religion, to maintain 
superstition, to set up idolatry, to teach all kind of popery. He is 
ready as he can be wished for to set forth his plough; to devise as 
many ways as can be to deface and obscure God's glory.. . .0 
that our prelates would be as diligent to sow the corn of good 
doctrine as Satan is to sow cockle and darnel. . . (p. 70). 

. . .But in the mean time the prelates take their pleasures. 
They are lords and no labourers; but the Devil is diligent at his 
plough. He is no unpreaching prelate; he is no lordly loiterer 
from his cure, but a busy ploughman; so that among all the pre- 
lates, and among all the pack of them that have cure, the Devil 
shall go for my money, for he still applieth his business. Therefore, 
ye unpreaching prelates, learn of the Devil. . .(p. 77). 

Latimer, Sermons (ed. G. E. Cprrie, Parker Society, 1844). 


(5) Confessions of the Monks 

The language of these confessions is quite inconsistent with the theory 
that they were genuine 'confessions' in the ordinary sense of the term. They 
were more probably the work of some expert draughtsman in Cromwell's 
office, and were placed before the monks for signature ready-drawn. In form 
they are reasoned surrenders rather than confessions. 

St Andrew^! Priory, Northampton, ^-537 

The following extracts are from the longer form of confession. One in the short 
form, that of the Friary of St Francis, Stamford, is also printed in Weever, Funeral 
Monuments, p. no. 

Most noble and virtuous Prince, our most righteous and 
gracious Sovereign Lord and undoubted Foundqrji and in earth, 
next under God, Supreme Head of this Enghsh Church. We, 
your Grace's poor and most unworthy subjects, Francis, Prior of 
your Grace's Monastery of Saint Andrew the Apostle yrithin your 
Grace's town of Northampton, and the whole convent of the 
saine^, being stirred by the grief of our conscience unto great 
contrition for thei manifold negligence, enormities, and abuses of 
long time, by us and other our predecessors, under the pretence 
and shadow of perfect religion, used and comnjitted,, to the 
grievous displeasure of Almighty God, the crafty deception and 
subtle seduction of the pure and simple minds of the good Chris- 
tian people of this your noble realm, knowledgen^ ourselves to 
have grievously offended God and your Highness our Sovereign 
Lord and Founder, as well in corrupting the conscience of your 
good Christian subjects with vain, superstitious, and other un- 
profitable ceremonies, the very means and plain inductions^ to 
the abominable sin of idolatry, as in omitting the execution of 
such devout and due observances and charitable acts as we were 
bounden to do by the promises and avows* made by us and our 
predecessors unto Almighty God, and to your Grace's most noble 
progenitors, original founders of your said monastery; for the 
which observances and deeds of charity only your said monastery 
was endowed with sundry possessions, jewels, ornaments, and 
other goods, moveable and unmoveable, by your Grace's said 
noble progenitors. The revenues of which possessions we, the 
said Prior and convent, voluntarily only by our proper conscience 
compelled, do recognise neither by us nor our predecessors to 
have been employed according to the original intent of the 
founders of your said monastery, that is to say, in the pure observ- 

1 See note on p. 62 above. ^ Confessing, acknowledging. 

* Inducements. * I-e. vows. 


ance of Christ's Religion, according to the devout rule and doc- 
trine of holy Saint Benedict, in virtuous exercise and study accord- 
ing to our profession and avow, nor yet in the charitable sustaining, 
cojnforting, and relieving of the poor people by the keeping of 
good and necessary hospitality. But as well we as others our pre- 
decessors called religious persons within your said monastery, 
taking on us the habit or outward vesture of the said rule only to 
the intent to lead our lives in an idle quietness and not in virtuous 
exercise, in a stately estimation and not in obedient humility, 
have under the shadow or colour of the said rule and habit vainly, 
detestably, and also ungodly employed, yea rather devoured^ the 
yearly revenues issuing and coming of the said possessions in con- 
tinual ingurgitations^ and farcings^ of our carayne^ bodies, and 
df others the supporters of our voluptuous and carnal appetite, 
with other vain and Ungodly expenses, to the manifest subversion 
of devotion and cleanness of li^^ng, and to the most notable 
slander of Christ's holy Evangel, which in the form of our pro- 
fession we did ostentate* and openly advaunt^ to keep most ex- 
actly; withdrawing thereby from the simple and pure minds of 
your Grace's subjects the only truth and comfort which they 
ought: to have by the true faith of Christ, and also the divine 
honour and glory only due to the glorious majesty of God Al- 
mighty, steering them with all persuasions, engines^, and policy, 
to dead images and counterfeit relics for our damnable lucre. 
Which our most horrible abominations and execrable persuasions 
of your Grace's people to detestable errors, and our long covered 
hypocrisy cloaked with fiMgned sanctity, we revolving daily and 
continually pondering in our sorrowful hearts, and thereby per- 
ceiving the bottomless gulf of everlasting fire ready to devour us 
if persisting in this state of living we should depart from this 
uncertain and transitory life; constrained by the intolerable 
anguish of our conscience; called as we trust by the grace of God, 
who would have no man to perish in sin; with hearts most con- 
trite and repentant, prostrate at the noble feet of your most royal 
Miajesty, most lamentably do crave of your Highness, of your 
abundant mercy, to grant unto us most grievous against God and 
your Highness your most gracious pardon for our said sundry 
offences, omissions, and negligences committed as before by us 
is confessed against your Highness and your most noble pro- 

1 'Ingurgitation' is used of excessive eating or drinking in the sense of greedy 

swallowing. " Stuffing or cramming. * An obsolete form of 'carrion.' 

♦ In the sense of displaying ostentatiously. ^ Boast. * Tricks or artifices. 


And, where your Highness, being Supreme Head, immedi- 
ately next after Christ, of his Church in this your realm of Eng- 
land, so consequently general and only reformator of all religious 
persons there, have full authority to correct or dissolve at your 
Grace's pleasure and liberty all convents and religious companies 
abusing the rules of their profession; and, moreover, to your 
Highness, being our Sovereign Lord and undoubted founder of 
your said monastery, by dissolution whereof appertaineth only 
the original title and proper inheritance, as well of all other goods, 
moveable a;nd unmoveable, to the said monastery in any wise ap- 
pertaining or belonging, to be disposed and employed as to your 
Grace's most excellent wisdom shall seem expedient and neces- 
sary; all which possessions and goods your Highness, for our 
said offences, abuses, omissions, and negligences, being to all men 
obedient^ and by us plainly confessed, now hath, and of long time 
past hath had, just and lawful cause to resume into your Grace's 
hands and possession at your Grace's pleasure; the resumption 
whereof your Highness nevertheless, like a most natural, loving 
Prince and clement governor over us your Grace's poor and for 
our offences most unworthy subjects, hath of long season de- 
ferred, and yet doth, in hope and trust of our voluntary reconcilia- 
tion and amendment, by your Grace's manifold, loving, and 
gentle admonishments shewed unto us by divers and sundry 
means. We therefore considering with ourselves your Grace's ex- 
ceeding goodness and mercy extended at all times unto us most 
miserable trespassers against God and your Highness, for a per- 
fect declaration of our unfeigned contrition and repentance, 
feeling ourselves very weak and unable to observe and perform 
our aforesaid avows and promises made by us and our predeces- 
sors to God and your Grace's noble progenitors, and to employ 
the possessions of your said monastery according to the first will 
and intent of the original founders; And to the intent that your 
Highness, your noble heirs and successors, with the true Christian 
people of this your Grace's realm of England, be not from hence- 
forth eftsoons? abused with such feigned devotion and devilish 
persuasions, under the pretext and habit of religion, by us or any 
other which should happen to bear the name of religious within 
your said monastery; And, moreover, that the said possessions 
and goods should be no longer restrained from a better or more 
necessary employment; Most humbly beseechen your Highness 
our most gracious Sovereign Lord and Founder that it might 

1 The sense would appear to be 'evident.' ' Obedient' may be a misreading. 
* A second time. 


like your Majesty, for the discharging and exonerating us of the 
most grievous burden of our pained conscience to the imminent 
peril and danger of our own damnation that we should be in if 
by persisting in the state that we now rest in we should be the 
let^ of a more godly and necessary ettiploynient, graciously to 
accept our free gifts without coercion, plersuasion, or procure- 
ment of any creature livihg other than of our voluntary free will, 
of all such possessions, right, title, or interest as we the said Prior 
and convent hath or ever had or are supposed, to have had in or 
to your said Monastery of Northampton aforesaid.; And all and 
every parcel^ of the lands, advowsons, commodities, and other 
revenues, whatsoever they be, belonging to the same; And all 
manner of goods, jewels, ornaments, with all other manner of 
chattels, moveable and unmoveable, to the said monastery in any 
wise appertaining or belofiging, into whose hands or possession 
soever they be come into, to be employed and disposed as to your 
Grace's most excellent wisdom shall seem expedient and necessary. 
And although, most gracious Sovereign Lord, that the thing by 
us given unto your Highness is properly and of right ought to be 
your Grace's own, as well by the merits of our offences as by the 
order of your Grace's laws, yet, notwithstanding, we eftsoons 
most humbly beseechen your Highness graciously and benevo- 
lently to accept our free will with the gift thereof, nothing re- 
quiring of your Majesty therefor other than -your most gracious 
pardon, with some piece of your Grace's alms, and abundant 
charity towards the maintenance of our poor living, and licence 
henceforth to live in such form in correcting the rest of our lives 
as we hope to make satisfaction thereby to God and your Highness 
for our hypocrisy and other our grievous offences by us committed 
as well against his Deity as your Majesty.... 

. . . And finally we most humbly and reverently, with abund- 
ant tears proceeding from our hearts, having before our eyes our 
detestable offences, submit ourselves totally to the order of God 
and your merciful and benign Majesty, most heartily beseeching 
Almighty God to grant your Highness, with the noble Prince 
Edward your Grace's most noble and natural son, next unto your 
Grace the most precious jewel and chief comfort of this your 
Grace's realm, long to live among us your natural and true sub- 
jects, with prosperous and fortunate success of all your Grace's 
honourable and devout proceedings, which hitherto through your 

^ In the scriptural sense of 'hindrance.' 

2 'Parcel of land,' in the sense of a piece of land, is a technical legal expression 
well known in conveyancing. 

INJUNCTIONS OF 1536 AND 1538 93 

Grace's most excellent wisdom and wonderful industry, assidu- 
allyi solicited about the confirming and stablishing men's con- 
science, continually veied with sundry doubtful opinions and vain 
ceremonies, have taken both good and laudable efi^ect, to the un- 
doubted contentation^ of Almighty God, the great renown and 
immortal memory of your Grace's high wisdom and excellent 
knowledge, and to the spiritual weal of all your Grace's subjects. 
Dated and subscribed in our Chapter the first day of March in 
the 29th year of your Grace's reign. By the hands of your Grace's 
poor and unworthy subjects [The confession is signed by the Prior, 
the Sub-prior, and eleven brethren^. 

Weever, Funeral Monuments (1631), p. 106. 

§ 6. The Injunctions of 1536 and 1538 

In August, 1536, Cromwell, as the King's vice-gerent, issued the first 
Tudor Injunctions in matters of i-eligion. 'This,' says Wriotheslejr^, 'was 
the first act of pure supremacy done by the King, for in all that had gone 
before he had acted with the concurrence of Convocation.' 

Some of the Injunctions are only administrative, and have small historical 
importance, although one of them reflects the revolt from Rome, since it 
requires the clergy 'to the uttermost of their wit, knowledge, and learning, 
purely, sincerely, and without any colour or dissimulation' to preach once 
every Sunday for the next three months, 'and after that at the leastwise 
twice every quarter,' against 'the Bishop of Rome's usurped power and 
jurisdiction.' At two points, however, the Injunctions exhibit in a remark- 
able way the influence of the New Learning, (i) In language that is in 
striking reaction against medieval superstition, they forbid the clergy to 'set 
forth or extol any images, relics, or miracles for any superstition or lucre, 
nor allure the people by any enticements to the pilgrimage of any saint,. . . 
as though it were proper or peculiar to that saint to give this commodity or 
that, seeing all goodness, health, and grace ought to be both asked and looked 
for only of God, as of the very Author of the same, and of none other, for 
without Him that cannot be given; but they shall exhort as well their par- 
ishioners as other pilgrims that they do rather apply themselves to the keeping 
of God's commandments and fulfilling of His works of charity, persuading 
them that they shall please God more by the true exercising of their bodily 
labour, travail, or occupation, and providing for their families, than if they 
went about to the said pilgrimages; and that it shall profit more their soul's 
health if they do bestow that on the poor and needy which they would have 
bestowed upon the said images or relics.' (2) The clergy are required 'dili- 
gently' to 'admonish the fathers and mothers, masters and governors of youth, 
being within their cure, to teach or cause to be taught their children and 
servants, even from their infancy, their Pater noster, the Articles of our 

1 Constantly, continually. ^ Pleasure, satisfaction. 

3 Quoted in Gee and Hardy, p. 269, where the Injunctions of 1536 will be 
found printed in full. 


faith, and the Ten Commandments in their mother tongue; and the same 
so taught, shall cause the said youth oft to repeat and understand.' 

In October, 1 538, Cromwell issued, with the authorisation and approval of 
Cranmer, a second set of Injunctions^ in which the reaction against medieval 
superstition was carried still further. The clergy once a quarter were to 
warn their hearers from the pulpit 'not to repose their trust or affiance i« 
any other works devised by men's phantasies beside Scripture; as in vrandering 
to pilgrimages, offering of money, candles, or tapers to images or rebcs,, . , 
saying over a number of beads not understood or minded on, or in such-like 
superstition.' 'For avoiding that most detestable offence of idolatry,' images 
were to be taken down, and the clergy were to 'suffer from henceforth no 
candles, tapers, or images of wax to be set afore any image or picture, but 
only the light that commonly goeth across the church by thfc rood loft, the 
light before the Sacrament of the Attar, and the light about the sepulchre, 
which for the adorning of the church and divine service you shall suffer to 
remain; still admonishing yoUr parishioners that images serve for none other 
purpose but as to be books of unlearned men that cannot know letters, 
whereby they might be otherwise admonished of the lives and conversation 
of them that the said images do represent; which images if they abuse for any 
other intent than for slich remembrances, they commit idolatry in the same 
to the great danger of their souls. . . . ' The Injunctions require the clergy to 
provide 'on this side the Feast of Easter next coming, one book of the whole 
Bible of the largest volume in English^, and the same set up in some con- 
venient place within the said church that you have cure of, whereas your 
parishioners piay most commpdiousty resort to the same and read it'*; and 
they are to 'discourage no man' from 'the reading or hearing of the 
said Bible, but shall expressly provoke, stir, and exhort every petson to read 
the same, as that which is the very lively word of God, that every Christian 
man is bound to embrace, believe, and follow, if he look to be saved.' 

It is probable that when Henry VIII authorised the reading of the Bible, 
he was thinking mainly of the support which he inight obtain from the fact 
that it did not mention monasticism and said nothing to sustain the claims 
of the Papacy. But consequences followed which he had not foreseen. The 
Bible promoted diversity of belief, and the general permission to read it 
couM be represented as encouraging the promulgation of 'strange and contra- 
dictory doctrines.' By an Act of 1543* 'for the advancement of true religion 
and for the abolishment of the contrary' this general permission was with- 
drawn. Noblemen, gentlemen, and merchant householders might read it 
privately, but w^omen, artificers, apprentices, and others were forbidden to 
read it either privately or openly. Noblewomen or gentlewomen might read 
it to themselves, but not to others. 

1 Printed in Gee and Hardy, p. 275. 

2 This 'Bible of the largest volume' was the 'Great Bible' which Covefdale was 
now passing through the press at Paris. It was completed in haste in 1 539 for use as 
required hy the Injunctions (Gairdner, ii, 287). It is familiar as the source of the 
Prayer-Book version of the Psalms. 

» A similar provision had appeared in the Injunctions of 1536 as first drafted, 
but it was eventually omitted {ii. ii, 277). 
* 34 & 35 Henr. VIII, c. i. 



Although the. Injunctions of 1536 and 1538 suggest that Henry VIII, 
like most eoucated laymen of his day, was influenced by the New Learning, 
the Statute of Jix Articles J^^ • 

nevmTTeleiOrepaMTp^ enforce ^un^^^ 

doofirTneTof tHe Uhurc 

^n'lS'tJSSSfillCftional impo^ of the statute li 

modifies arid coiisolii^tes me exilfi 


,„^.-.,^,,,,,,,it^..,.M,f,^a^M^.4S^ ihe rule ot the 

canorriaxr'pWit8!ifM^%eff« by pi^ andthe cSse^ of Sawtrey in 1401 

shews that the common law recognised the rule of the canon law, and there- 
fore that a writ de haeretico comburendo could be issued at common law^. 
This was reinforced by the Heresy Acts of 14012 arid 1414^ the first of 
which provided that heretics might be a:rrested on suspicion by the bishop, 
and those refusing to abjure or relapsing after abjuration were to be burned; 
and the second enabled the bishops to call upon the civil power for assistance, 
and authorised courts of quarter sessions to receive indictments for heresy 
and to deliver persons so irraicted to the bishops to be tried*. The law against 
heresy was, however, considerably modified by Henry VIII. An Act of 
1533^ repealed the Act of 1401, and so deprived the bishops of their power 
to arrest on suspicion; but it confirmed the Act of 1414, and so made it 
necessary for proceedings in heresy cases to begin by indictment. This had the 
effect of discouraging prosecutions, and between 1533 and 1539 the cases 
were not numerous*. But the Act of 1533 also furnishes 'a kind of negative 
definition of heresy,' for it provides that speaking against the authority of 
the Pope, or against spiritual laws made by the see of Rome repugnant to 
the laws of the realm or the authority of the King, shall not be deemed heresy. 
The Statute of Six Articles should be read in close connexion with this Act 
of i533j to which it is supplementary. ItJgwgdra^^jjg^gMdg 
h er^y, and establish es a special procedur e for th"e"pf6secution of hi 

comniissforis were to beTs'sWd"m"'l\?el7'^fc^ftSrTO€"Ms!^'1ffi9'o3i^^ 
enquire into offences against the Act, and the commissioners were em- 
powered to compel the attendance of accused persons before them and to 
try them with a jury. The efect of t he^e two Acts taken together wa s/ o 
make heresy 'in great measMT&T^^^^^^^^^^^S^^^^mm 
of «wn3WTr^iaWf^^ffl8rirWoWf!!?f^ heresy by the Statute of Six 

AftM¥(rwttfdirthe*%ishop would not have held to be heresy under the Act 
of 1 40 1, and the procedure was far less oppressive than that established by 
the Acts of 1 40 1 and 1414. 

Statute of Six Articles, 1539 

An Act ahoHshing diversity in Opinions 
Where the King's most excellent Majesty is by God's law 
Supreme Head immediately under him of this whole Church and 


1 Holdsworth, i, 385. 

» 2 Renr. V, st. i, c, 7. 

6 25 Henr. VIII, c. 14. 

' Hale, quoted in Stephen, ii, 458. 

2 2Henr. IV, c. 15. 

* Stephen, ii, 450. 

* Stephen, ii, 455. 


Congregation of England, intending the conservation of the same 
Church and Congregation in a true, sincere, and uniform doctrine 
of Christ's Religion, calling also to his blessed and most gracious 
remembrance as well the great and quiet assurance, prosperous 
increase, and other innumerable commodities which have ever 
ensued, come, and followed of concord, agreement, and unity in 
opinions, as also the manifold perils, dangers, and inconveniences 
which have heretofore in many places and regions grown, sprung, 
and arisen of the diversities of minds and opinions, especially of 
matters of Christian Religion; And therefore desiring that such 
an unity might and should be charitably established in all things 
touching and concerning the same, as the same so being establish- 
ed might chiefly be to the honour of Almighty God, the very 
author and fountain of all true unity and sincere concord, and 
consequently redound to the common wealth of this his Highness's 
most noble re^lm and of all his loving subjects and other resiants 
and inhabitants of or in the same: Hath therefore caused and 
commanded this his most high Court of Parliament, for sundry 
and many urgent causes and considerations, to be at this time 
summoned, and also a Synod and Convocation of all the arch- 
bishops, bishops, and other learned men of the clergy of this his 
realni to be in like manner assembled; And forasmuch as in the 
said Parliament, Synod, and Convocation there were certain 
articles, matters, and questions proponed^ and set forth touching 
Christian Religion. . , . The King's most royal Majesty, most 
prudently pondering and considering that by occasion of variable 
and sundry opinions and judgments of the said articles, great 
discord and variance hath arisen as well amongst the clergy of 
this his realm as amongst a great number of vulgar people his 
loving subjects of the same, and being in a full hope and ttust 
that a full and perfect resolution of the said articles should make 
a perfect concord and unity generally amongst all his loving and 
obedient subjects; Of his most excellent goodness not only com- 
manded that the said articles should deliberately and advisedly 
by his said archbishops, bishops, and other learned men of his 
clergy be debated, argued, and reasoned,' and their opinions 
therein to be understood, declared, and known, but also most 
graciously vouchsafed in his own princely person to descend and 
come into his said high Court of Parliament^ and Council, and 

^ Put forward, 

2 The King had come into the House of Lords to argue against the reformers. 
Cranmer afterwards stated that but for this the bill would not have been passed 
(Fisher, p. 435). 


there like a prince of most high prudence and no less learning 
ppened and declared many things of high learning and great 
knowledge touching the said articles, matters, and questions, for 
an unity to be had in the same; Whereupon, after a great and long 
deliberate and advised disputation and consultation had and made 
concerning the said articles, as well by the consent of the King's 
Highness as by the assent of the Lords spiritual and temporal 
and other learned men of his clergy in their Convocation and by 
the consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, 
it was and is finally resolved, accorded, and agreed in manner and 
form following, that is to say; First, that in the niost blessed 
Sacrament of the Altar, by the strength and efficacy of Christ's 
mighty word, it being spoken by the priest, is present really, 
under the form of bread and wjne, the natural body and blood of 
our Saviour Jesu Christ, conceived of the Virgin Mary, and that 
after the consecration there reniaineth no substance of bfead and 
wine, nor any other substance but the substance of Christ, God 
and man; Secondly, that communion in both kinds is not heces 
sary ad salutem by the law of God to all persons; And that it is 
to be believed and not doubted of but that in the flesh under 
form of bread is the very blood, and with the blood under form 
of wine is the very flesh, as well apart as though they were both 
together; Thirdly, that priests after the order of priesthood re- 
ceived as afore may not m'arry by the law of God; Fourthly, that 
vows of chastity or widowhood by man or woman made to God 
advisedly ought to be observed by the law of God, and that it 
exempteth them from other liberties of Christian people which 
without that they might enjoy; Fifthly, that it is meet and neces- 
sary that private masses be continued and admitted in this the 
King's English Church and Congregation as whereby good 
Christian people ordering themselves accordingly do receive both 
godly and goodly consolations and benefits, and it is agreeable 
also to God's law; Sixthly, that auricular confession is expedient 
and necessary to be retained and continued, used, and frequented, 
in the Church of God : ... It is therefore ordained and enacted. . . . 

The enacting ckuses provided (i) that persons who 'by word, writing, imprint- 
ing, ciphering^, or in any other wise, do publish, preach, teach, say, affirm, declare, 
dispute, argue, or hold,' any opinion contrary to the first article, together with 'their 
aiders, comforters, counsellors, consenters, and abettors therein,' shall be 'deemed 
and adjudged heretics,' and 'shall therefor have and suffer judgment, execution, 
pain, and pains of death by way of burning'; (2) that persons who preach in any 

^ I.e. by writing in cipher. 
T. D. 7 


public sermon or 'teach in any common school or to other congregation of people' 
or 'do obstinately affirm' opinions contrary to the other five articles, shall be 'deemed 
and adjudged' felons, and shall 'suffer pains of death as in cases of felony' with 
forfeiture of lands and goods; (3) persons publishing, declaring, or holding such 
opinions 'by word. Writings printing, ciphering^ or otherwise than is above' re- 
hearsed,' were to forfeit their goods and chattels and the profits of their lands, 
offices, and benefices during life, and to be imprisoned during the King's pleasure, 
and on a second offence to suffer death as felons with forfeiture of lands and goods'. 

yi. And be it further enacted. . .that if any person or per- 
sons, . .contemn^ or contemptuously refuse, deny, or abstain to 
be confessed at the time commonly accustomed within this realm 
and Church of England, or contemn or contemptuously refuse, 
deny, or abstain to receive the holy and blessed sacrament above- 
said at the time commonly used and accustomed for the same, that 
then' every such offender. . .shall suffer such imprisonment and 
make such fine and ransom to the King our Sovereign Lord and his 
heirs as by his Highness or by his or their Council shall be ordered 
and adjudged in that behalf; And if any such offender. . . do eft- 
soons^. . . refuse. . . to be confessed or to be communicate. . . that 
then every such offence shall be deemed and adjudged felony, and 
the offender. . .shall suffer pains of death and lose and forfeit all 
his . . . goods, lands, and tenements, as in cases of felony. 

31 Henr. VIII, c. 14: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 739^ 
^ Scorn. * A second time. 

The Church Settlement of Edward VI 

The Tudor Monarchy assumed that the Sovereign exercised a personal 
control over the business of government, and on the death of Henry VIII 
this personal control passed into the hands of a boy of nine, who would be 
likely to become what older people cared to make him. The religious policy 
of the future was therefore closely bound up with the question of the young 
King's education. It is possible that Henry VIII did not intend his own 
Church settlement to be final. At any rate he chose men of the New Learn- 
ing to be his son's tutors — Richard Cox, with John Cheke 'as a supple- 
ment to Mr Cox,' and afterwards Anthony Cooke, while Roger Ascham 
gave lessons in penmanship^ And when he made provision in his will for a 
Council of Regency the majority of the members were of the same way of 
thinking, and the name of Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, the strongest 
man on the other side, was left out. The King's chief preoccupation may 
have been to take guarantees that his own religious policy would not be 
reversed, but he must have foreseen other possibilities; indeed, according to 
Cranmer, he was actually engaged, during the last few months of his life, in 
devising a scheme for destroying roods, suppressing bell-ringing, and turning 
the mass into a communion service^- And when he died, circumstances 
favoured the reformers, for it was found necessary to choose a Protector, 
and the tradition of the English constitution indicated the person on whom 
the choice must fell. The young King's uncle', the Earl of Hertford, after- 
wards Duke of Somerset, brother to Queen Jane Seymour, was appointed 
by the Privy Council on the day of the King's proclamation, and in his 
hands all power was soon afterwards gathered, for the Protector took out a 
new patent for his office which made him independent of the Council, and 
the executors and assistant-executors appointed by Henry were amalgamated 
into a single privy council appointed by Edward VI*- It was known that 
Hertford was 'well disposed to pious doctrine, and abominated the fond in- 
ventions of the Papists,' 5 and by Henry's death he had become a 'rank 
Calvinist,' who soon opened up a correspondence with Geneva®. 

At the beginning of Edward VI's reign sharp lines between Protestant 
and Catholic had not been drawn, for the Council of Trent had not yet 
defined heresy. There was only a confused welter of embittered controvei;sy 
out of which various doctrinal views were beginning to emerge. The funda- 
mental division was that between the Old Learning and the New — the one 
appealing to the decisions of an infallible Church, and the other resting upon 

1 D.N.B. xvii, 85. 2 CM.H. ii, 479. 

' Cf. Richard III, n, iii, where Shakespeare makes the third citizen say of the 
minority of Henry VI 

'For then this land was famously enriched 
With politic, grave counsel; then the King 
Had virtuous uncles to protect his Grace.' 
* Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 8. ^ See Pollard, Cranmer, p. 187. 

« D.N.B.U, 303. 



the private interpretation of an infallible Book. The Sacrament of the Altar 
was the centre of controversy, but out of this there grew the question of the 
celibacy of the consecrating priesthood, and the proper amount of reverence 
to be paid in worship to images, and reliiSi and to the sacred elements them- 
selves. There was also a further question of a highly abstract character, 
whether justification was by faith alone, or by faith and charity together. 
On all these vital matters the Protector and those who were associated with 
him held advanced views and were prepared to carry through further religious 
changes, but the precise form which these were to take was mainly deter^ 
mined by Cranmer, who in the Church Settlement of Edward VI plajrs^ 
most important part. He was not, like many of those who surrounded aiiit, 
a. greedy and unscrupulous politician, but a learned and conscientious theo- 
logian, whose sti^y of theological questions had led him to change his 
opinions, from one point of view the importance of Henry's death and 
Edward's minority was that it gave Cranmer a free hand. 

The Church Settlement of Henry VIII and J:hat of Edward VXwere 
based (JfinaffferenT 


was simr 

t the _] 
iction, and is 

Dy rlenry 

Craitii iV f ' ' Wm i!^tmth'*fi Sfi^v ee'-lim^ use the .l^yal 

Supremacy itself, during a minority, to mak>i'^^fli!^(^W1^£i^^mSti 
coM'ifat'vceestmmiserever^: -Thtis whferi Sbiiher'felfusea to fetl^^ 
PauTs C'ros's 'ffl'4't'lfB'd"'Kttllg^f%thority was as great during his minority, as if 
he were thirty or forty years old^, and when Gardiner protested that the 
Council had no right to make alterations in religion until the King came of 
age% they were taking up a strong position and defending the Royal Supr^m*? 
acy as Henry VlII had understood it^. But unfortunately for them the power 
was in the hands of their opponents, and Gardiner went to the Tower anil 
Bonner to the Marshalsea prison. 

§ I. The Injunctions of 1547 

As lojig as Somerset was in power the process of doctrinal change was 
carried out gradually and with caution, and it may be redded as a natural 
development of what had gone befpre. The method, a combination of in- 
junction and statute, was the method of Henry VlII. 

The Injunctions of 1547 were moderate in tone, and contain little 
\^hich is not 'in keeping with that aspiration for a purging of the practice of 

1 D.N.B.v,3ig. 
8 28 Henr. VlII, 1 

* Gairdner, iii, 55. 
, c. 17, taking the view that the personal authority of the sove- 
reign was necessary to the validityof legislation, had provided that 'as lawsand statutes 
may happep herrafter to be made within this realm as Parliaments holden at such 
times as the kings of the same shall happen to be within age, having small knowledge 
and experience of their afeirs,' successors who came to the throne under 24 years of 
age should have power to annul by letters patent statutes passed during their minority 
as soon as they reached that age. This statute would have checked religious changes 
by making them only povisional, but it was repealed in the first Parliament of die 


the Church which supplied the moral force of the Reformation.'^ They 
followed closely the Injunctions of 1 536 and 1 538% adc^ting at many points 
the same phrases, but they also contain certain features that are new. 

(i) The policy of discouraging a superstitious use of images and cere- 
monies is carried much further than heretofore. The Dissolution of the 
Monasteries had been accompanied by a crusade against relics and shrines, 
and the images with which shrines were adorned, for Henry VIII was not 
unwilling to destroy the popular reverence for anything which brought 
credit to the monks. The Injunctions of 1538 had ordered the destruction 
of 'such feigned images' as were 'abused widi pilgrimages, or offerings of 
anything made thereunto,' and had forbidden 'candles, tapers, or images of 
wax' being 'set afore any image or picture.' The Injunctions of 1 547^ repeat 
these precepts and prohibitions, and further instruct the clergy to .'take 
away, utterly extinct, and destroy' all shrines, candlesticks, picture, and 'all 
other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry, and super- 
stition,' and to warn their parishioners against misuse of 'the laudable cere- 
monies of the Church,' 'as in casting holy water upon his bed, upon images^ 
and other dead things, or bearing about him holy bread, or St John's Gospel 
. , .or blessing with the holy candle, to the intent thereby to be discharged 
of the burden of sin, or to drive away devils.' The injunction against images 
was found difficult to enforce, as it was not easy to say what came into the 
category of images 'abused,' and in February, 1548, the Council ordered 
the bishops to give instructions for removing them all*. The Act of 1550, 
Against Books and Images [p. 1 13J, should be read in connexion with this. 
It orders the destruction of all images under penalties by a given date, except 
those of 'any king, prince, nobleman, or other dead person, which hath not 
been common^'^ reputed and taken for a saint.' ^ 

(2) The Injunctions of 1547 *^s° further develop the study of the 
Scriptures and the use of the vulgar tongue in the services of the Church. 
The Injunctions of 1536 had required children and servants to be taught 
the Paternoster, the Articles of Faith, and the Ten Commandments in Eng- 
lish, and those of 1538 had extended this to all parishioners and had included 
the Creed. They had also provided for the setting up of the Great Bible in the 
churches. The Injunctions of 1547 associate with the Bible the Paraphrase 
of Erasmus, and require 'every parson, vicar, curate, chantry priest, and 
stipendiary, being under the degree of a Bachelor of Divinity' to 'provide 
and have of his own' the Paraphrase and the New Testament 'both in 
Latin and in English'; and they are to be examined by the bishops on their 
visitations 'how they have profited in the study of Holy Scripture.' The 
Epistle and Gospel for the day are to be read in English and not in Latin; 
and a chapter of the New Testament in English is to be read at matins and 
a chapter of the Old Testament at evensong. Processions 'about the church 
or churchprd' are forbidden, but 'immediately before high mass the priests, 
with other of the choir, shall kneel in the midst of the church and sing or 

^ Pollard, Cranmer, p. 196. * See p. 93 above. 

* See Cardwell (i, 4-23), where these Injunctions are printed in full. 

4 Cardwell, i, 38. 

5 'Thus Oswald and Wulfstan vanished from Worcester cathedral, while King 
John remained' (Gwatkin, p. 185). 


say plainly and distinctly the Litany which is set forth in English.'^ Anodi«r 
injunction requires the churchwardens, at the common charge of the parish- 
ioners, to provide 'a comely and honest pulpit' for the preaching of God's 

It should, however, be observed that the Injunctions of 1547 do not 
interfere with the use of the confessional as an habitual practice; the termin- 
ology of the old order, 'high mass,' 'matins,' and 'evensong,' is still employed; 
and prayeris for the dead are exprrasly retained. 

§ 2. Statutes of the Protectorate 

So far the government had acted without Parliament, but in November, 
1547, Edward VI's first Parliament met, and the next innovations were 
made by statute. 

The Statute of Treasons, which repealed the heresy laws and the Statute 
of Six Articles^ and removed all restrictions upon the use of the Bible, is 
discussed below [p. 380] in a different connexion. 

The Act of 1547 against reviling the Sacrament and for communion 
in both kinds^ declared that the Sacrament of the Altar 'hath been of late 
marvellously abused' by those who 'of wickedness or else of ignorance and 
want of learning, for certain abuses heretofore committed of some in misusing 
thereof, have condemned in their hearts and speech the whole thing, and 
contemptuously depraved, despised, or reviled the same most holy and 
blessed Sacrament, and not only disputed and reasoned unreverently and 
ungodly of that most high mystery, but also in their sermons, preachings, 
reading, lectures, communications, arguments, talks, rhymes, songs,- plays, 
or gests^, name or call it by such vile and unseemly words as Christian ears 
do abhor to hear rehearsed'; it was therefore provided that persons who 
'shall deprave, despise, or contemn' the Sacrament, shall 'suffer imprison- 
ment of . . .their bodies and make fine and ransom at the King's will and 
pleasure.' The same Act declared it to be 'more agreeable both to the first 
institution of the said Sacrament. . .and also more conformable to the com- 
mon use and practice both of the Apostles and of the primitive Church by 
the space of five hundred years and more after Christ's Ascension' that the 
Sacrament should be 'ministered to all Christian people under both the kinds 
of bread and wine than under the form of bread only'; it was therefore pro- 
vided that the Sacrament should be administered in both kinds, and should 
not be denied 'to any person that will devoutly and humbly desire it.'* 

The Act of 1547 'for the election of Bishops'^ substitutes for congi 

^ The English Litany had been printed in 1545, and had been first sung in St 
Paul's on Sunday October 1 8 of that year- (Pollard, Cranmer, p. 1 74). At the date of 
the Injunctions it was already in use in the churches; the novelty lay in the requirement 
that it should no longer be sung in procession but kneeling. On the relation of this 
to our present Litany see Gwatkin, p. 177. 2 j E,j-yy_ yj^ {.. i. 

* 'Gest,' in the sense of a story or romance in verse, was beginning to be used in 
the later sense of a satirical utterance or lampoon. 

* 'This made the whole of the Canon Law inoperative, and put a stop to any 
requirement of fasting or confession as a condition of communion' (Gwatkin, p. 183). 

s I Edw. VI, c. 2. 


d'elire nomination by the King's letters patent, on the ground that elections 
to archbishoprics and bishoprics are long delayed, and involve those appointed 
to them in 'great costs and charges,' and also that such elections 'be in very 
deed no elections but only by a writ of congi tfelire have colours, shadows, 
or pretences of elections, serving nevertheless to no purpose and seeming 
also derogatory ... to the King's prerogative royal, to whom only appertaineth 
the collation and gift.' Henry VIII had at any rate retained the form of an 
election. Appointment by the King's letters patent reduced the bishops to 
die position of mere state officials liable to summary deprivation, for letters 
patent could be at any time withdrawn. The Act represents the most ad- 
vanced conception of"^ the Royal Supremacy which appears in any of the 
Reformation statutes. 

(i) Act for the Dissolution of the Chantries, 1547 

This ^ct not only carried through the dissolution of 2374 chantries or 
small foundations endowing a priest or priests to say masses for ever for the 
repose of the founder's soul, but it also confiscated that part of the funds of 
guilds and corporations assigned to superstitious objects, the payments hither- 
to made for these purposes being now converted into a rent-charge payable 
to the Crown. The preamble of the Act speaks of the erection of grammar 
schools, the augmentation of the Universities, and the relief of die poor; 
but the first use of the funds produced by the sale of chantry lands under 
the Act was 'specially for the relief of the King's Majesty's charges and 
eScpenses, which do daily grow and increase by reason of divers and sundry 
fortifications, garrisons, levying of men and soldiers,' etc.^ Schools kept by 
chantry priests were continued by the commissioners appointed under the 
Act, but a bill to found grammar schools, introduced a year later, disappeared 
after its first reading in the Lords on February 18, 1549^. -^ ^^''g^ P*""* °^ 
the chantry endowments eventually went to the harpies who surrounded 
the young king^ 

An Act whereby certain Chantries^ Colleges^ Free Chapels^ and 
the possessions of the same, be given to the King's Majesty 

The King's most loving subjects, the Lords spiritual and 
temporal and the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, 
considering that a great part of superstition and errors in Christian 
Religion hath been brought into the minds and estimation of 
men by reason of the ignorance of their very true and perfect 
salvation through the death of Jesus Christ, and by devising and 
phantasing vain opinions of purgatory and masses satisfactory* to 

1 Dasentjii, 184-5. ^ C.M.H.ii, \%2. 

8 'Now, all scruples removed, chantry-land went down without any regret. 
Yea, such who mannerly expected till the King carved for them out of abbey-lands, 
scrambled for themselves out of chantry-revenues, as knowing this was the last dish 
of the last course, and after chantries as after cheese, nothing to be expected' (Fuller, 

"' 275)- . . r . r ■ 

* I.e. making satisfaction or atonement.lor sin. 


be done for them which be departed, the which doctrine and vain 
Opinion by nothing more is maintained and upholden than by the 
abuse of trentals^, chantries, and other provisions made for the 
continuance of the said blindness and ignorance; And further 
considering and understanding that the alteration, change, and 
amendment of the same, and converting to good and godly uses, 
as in erecting of grammar schools to the education of youth in 
virtue and godliness, the further augmenting of the Universities, 
and better provision for the poor and needy, cannot in this present 
Parliament be provided and conveniently done, nor cannot nor 
ought to any other manner person be committed than to the King's 
Highness, whose Majesty^with and by the advice of his Highness's 
most prudent Council can and will most wisely and beneficially, 
both for the honour of God and the weal of this his Majesty's 
realm, order, alter, convert, and dispose the same; And calling 
further to their remembrance. . . [here follows a recital of 37 Henri 
VIII, c. ^,for the Dissolution of the Chantries^']. It is now ordained 
and enacted. . .that all manner of colleges, free chapels, and 
chantries, having being or in esse^ within five years next before the 
first day of this present Parliament, which were not in actual and 
i:eal possession of the said late King, nor in the actual and real 
possession of the King our Sovereign Lord that now is, nor ex- 
cepted in the said former Act. . . . Andall manors, lands, tenements, 
irents, tithes, pensions, portions, and other hereditaments and 
things above mentioned belonging to them or any of them, and 
also all manors, knds, tenements, rents, and other hereditaments 
and things above mentioned, by any manner of assurance, con- 
veyance, will, devise*, or otherwise had, made, suffered, know- 
ledged, or declared, given, assigned, limited, or appointed to the 
finding of any priest to have continuance for ever, and wherewith 
or whereby any priest was sustained, maintained, or found within 
five years next before the first day of this present Parliament, 
which were not in the actual and real possession of the said late 
King nor in the actual and real possession of our Sovereign Lord 
the King that now is, and also all annual rents, profits, and emolu- 

^ 'Trentals' are requiem masses, usually collected in sets of thirty. 

2 Commissioners were appointed under this Act to survey the possessions of the 
chantries, but although there were some voluntary surrenders, it is doubtful if any 
dissolutions took place under it (Gee and Hardy, p. 328; but see Diron, ii, 381). 
This Act had now expired, so it was necessary to deal vdth the question afresh by 
a new statute. 

■ * 'In actual existence,' as opposed to in posse, 'in potentiality' (Oxford 

* A testamentary disposition, usually of real property. 


ments at any time within five years next before the beginning of 
this present Parliament employed, paid, or bestowed toward or 
for the maintenance, supportation, or finding of any stipendiary 
priest intended by any act or writing to have continuance for 
ever, shall by authority of this present Parliament, immediately 
after the Feast of Easter next coming, be adjudged and deemed 
and also be in the very actual and real possession and seisin of the 
King our Sovereign Lord and his heirs and successors for ever; 
without any office^ or other inquisition thereof to be had or found, 
and in as large and ample manner and form as the priests, wardens, 
masters, ministers, governors, rulers, or other incumbents of 
them or any of them at any time within five years next before the 
beginning of thjs present Parliament had occupied or enjoyed, or 
now hathj occupieth, and enjoyeth the same; and as though all 
and singular the said colleges, free chapels, chantries, stipends, 
salaries of priests, and the said manors, lands, tenements, here- 
ditaments, and other the premises whatsoever they be, and every 
pf them, were in this present Act specially, peculiarly, and cer- 
tainly rehearsed, named,, and expressed, by express words, names, 
surnames, corporations, titles, and faculties, and in their natures, 
kinds, and qualities. 

^ n* ^» ^» "ff ^P 

VII. And furthermore be it ordained and enacted by the 
authority aforesaid, that the King our Sovereign Lord shall from 
the said Feast of Easter next coming have and enjoy to him, his 
heirs and successors, for ever, all fraternities, brotherhoods, and 
guilds being within the realm of England and Wales and other 
the King's dominions, and all manors, lands, tenements, and 
other hereditaments belonging to them or any of them, other than 
such corporations, guilds, fraternities, companies, and fellowships 
of mysteries or crafts, and the manors, lands, tenements, and other 
hereditaments pertaining to the said corporations, guilds, fraterni- 
ties, companies, and fellowships of mysteries^ or crafts above 
mentioned, and shall by virtue of this Act be judged and deemed 
in actual and real possession of our said Sovereign Lord the King, 
his heirs and successors, from the said Feast of Easter next coming 
for ever, without any Inquisitions or office thereof to be had or 

[VIII-XII. The King may appoint commissioners under the great 
seal with power to survey all lay corporations, guilds, fraternities, companies, 

^ This term is used of an official enquiry concerning any matter that entitles the 
Crown to the possession of lands or goods. 
* Handicrafts or trades. 


and fellowships of mysteries or crafts incorporate' as well as 'all other the 
said fraternities, brotherhoods, and guilds within the limits of their com- 
mission,' 'to the intent thereby to know what money and other thmgs was 
paid or bestowed to the findmg or maintenance of any priest or priests, 
anniversary or obit^, or other like thing, light or lamp^, by theni or any of 
them,' and also to enquire what lands, etc., are vested in the King by this 
Act. The commissioners are also empowered to assign, 'in every such place 
where guild, fraternity, the priest or incumbent of any chantry in esse the 
first day of this present Parliament, by the foundation, ordinance, or first 
institution thereof should or ought to have kept a grammar school or a 
preacher, and so hath done since the Feast of St Michael the Archangel last 
past,' the lands of every such chantry or guild 'to remain and continue in 
succession to a schoolmaster or preacher for ever, for and toward the keeping 
of a grammar school or preaching.' They are also empowered 'to make and 
ordain a vicar to have perpetuity in every parish church the first day of this 
present Parliament being a coUegej free chapel, or chantry, or appropriated 
and annexed ... to any college, free chapel, or chantry' coming to die King's 
hands by virtue of the Act, and 'to endow every such vicar sufficiently, 
having respect to his cure and charge.' They" are further empowered to 
assign chantry lands for the maintenance of additional priests in any parish; 
to make rules 'concerning the service, user, and demeanours' of priests or 
schoolmasters appointed by them; and to grant pensions to the priests of 
dissolved chantries and to poor persons hitherto dependent on them for 
'yearly relief.'] 

XIII. And also be it ordained and enacted by the authority 
of this present Parliament, that our Sovereign Lord the King 
shall have and enjoy all such goods, chattels, jewels, plate, orna- 
ments, and other moveables as were or be the common goods of 
every such college, chantry, free chapel, or stipendiary priest, be- 
longing or annexed to the furniture or service of their several 
foundations, or abused of any of the said corporations in the 
abuses aforesaid, the property whereof was not altered or changed 
before the 8 th day of December in the year of our Lord God 1 547. 

XV. . Provided always and be it ordained and enacted by the 
authority aforesaid. That this Act or any article, clause, or matter 
contained in the same, shall not in any wise extend to any college, 
hostel, or hall being within either of the Universities of Cam- 
bridge and Oxford; nor to any chantry founded in any of the 
colleges, hostels, or halls being in the same universities; nor to 
the free chapel of St George the Martyr, situate in the Castle of 
Windsor; nor to the college called St Mary College of Winchester 

1 An 'obit' is a mass said for the soul of a deceased founder or benefactor on 
the anniversary of his death. 

* E.g. the chantry at Burton-on-Trent paid 2s. a year towards the maintenance 
of a lamp in the church of Allestree (Hibbert, Dissolution, p. 69). 



besides "Winchester of the foundation of Bishop Wykeham; nor 
to the College of Eton; nor to the parish church commonly called 
the Chapel in the Sea^, in Newton within the Isle of Ely in the 
county of Cambridge; nor to any manors, lands, tenements, or 
hereditaments to them or any of them pertaining or belonging; 
nor to any chapel made or ordained for the ease of the people 
dwelling distant from the parish church, or such like chapel 
whereunto no more lands or tenements than the churchyard or a 
little house or close doth belong or pertain; nor to any cathedral 
church or college where a bishop's see is within this realm of Eng- 
land or Wales, nor to the manors, lands, tenements, or other 
hereditaments of any of them, other than to such chantries, obits, 
lights, and lamps, or any of them, as at any time within five years 
next before the beginning of this present Parliament have been 
had, used, or maintained within the said cathedral churches or 
within any of them, or of the issues, revenues, or profits of any 
of the said cathedral churches; to which chantries, obits, lights, 
and lamps it is enacted by the authority aforesaid that this Act 
shall extend. 

I Edw. VI, c. 14: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 24. 

First A ct of Uni f ormity,,^^ j|;.|Ua.^ 
The revolution in-^^SC^^EsbiB, which this Act accompUs 

loc arana d i occsai} ^ ^ L\Piii te''HrMri.?:.^ singfe _form ^^^^^ ^^ 

ki ngdom . I'ne most wiHelylEnbwnor me oKl^^^^ of Sarum, 

anftfii^ was adopted as the basis of the hew prayer-book; but the drafting 

commission had before it much other material, including in particular the 
reformed Breviary published by Cardinal Quignon in 1535. Cranmer had 
made a profound study of existing liturgies, Eastern as well as Western^, 
and thus it was from a variety of sources that the compilers of the first Eng- 
lish Prayer-Book drew their inspiration. (2) The use^fdie vernacular 


by the Act. Ihis w 

an Roman 

riifs was on the whole JLutheran rather than Komap, 

resembling in some 

1 This was a college or large chantry, consisting of a warden and several chap- 
lains, founded by Sir John Colvill in the reign of Henry IV (Tanner, Notitia 
Monastica, p. 54). "The lands of the chantry were afterwards annexed to the rectory 
of Newton. 

* A catalogue of Granmer's library has been reconstructed which shews that it 
contained a number of books on the eucharistic controversy and was rich in works 
bearing on liturgical questions. These books shew signs of having been carefully 
studied, and many are underhned and annotated with marginal notes. 

* Wherie the vernacular is a translation from the Latin it is often much more 
than a mere translation. See Gwatkin, p. 1 86. 


Mass of 1526; and the reduction of the Roman daily service arranged in 
Hours to Matins and Evensong is in particular characteristically Lutheran. 
The influence is also apparent of the liturgy prepared by Hermann von 
Wied, the deprived Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, with the assistance of 
Luther himself. But the resemblances are due 'not so niuch to conscious 
imitation as to the common conservatism which characterised the Lutheran 
and Anglican service-books, and led to the retention in them of many 
Catholic usages which Reformed churches in Europe rejected.'^ 

An Act for the Uniformity of Service and Administration of the 
Sacraments throughout the Realm 
Where of long time there hath been had in this realm of 
England and Wales divers forms of common prayer commoidy 
called the service of the Church, that is to say, the use of Sarum, 
of York, of Bangor, and of Lincoln^; And besides the same now 
of late much more divers and sundry forms and fashions have 
been used in the cathedral and parish churches of England and 
Wales, as well concerning the matins or morning prayer and the 
evensong, as also concerning the Holy Communion commonly 
called the Mass, with divers and sundry rites and ceremonies con- 
cerning the same, and in the administration of other sacraments 
of the Church; And as the doers and executors of the said rites 
and ceremonies in other form than of late years they have been 
used were pleased therewith, so other not using the same rites and 
ceremonies were thereby greatly offended; And albeit the King's 
Majesty, with the advice of his most entirely beloved uncle the Lord 
Protector and other of his Highness's Council, hath heretofore 
divers times assayed to stay innovations or new rites concerning 
the premises, yet the same hath not had such good success as his 
Highness required in that behalf; whereupon his Highness by 
the most prudent advice aforesaid, being pleased to bear with the 
frailty and weakness of his subjects in that behalf, of his great 
clemency hath not been only content to abstain from punishm^t 
of those that have offended in that behalf, for that his Highness 
taketh that they did it of a good zeal, but also to the intent a 
uniform, quiet, and godly order should be had concerning the 
premises, hath appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury and cer- 
tain of the most learned and discreet bishops andxpther learhed 

1 Pollard, Cranmer, p. 220. ^ 

2 The Use of Sarum prevailed in the south of England and ovW the greater 
part of Scodand and Ireland. The not very dissimilar uses of York, Lincoln, Bangor, 
and Hereford were adopted in the north of England and in Wales. Thfe Sarum Use 
represents the Roman rite of the eleventh century, before the changes introduced by 
Gregory VII and his successors {Catholic Encyclopedia; see also W. H. Frere, Tk 
Use of Sarum). 


men of this realm to consider and ponder the premises, and there- 
upon having as well eye and respect to the most sincere and pure 
Christian Religion taught by the Scripture as to the usages in the 
primitive Church, should draw and make one convenient and 
meet order, rite, and fashion of common and open prayer and 
administration of the sacraments, to be had and used in his 
Majesty's realm of England and in Wales; the which at this time, 
by the aid of the Holy Ghost, with one uniform agreement is of 
them concluded, set forth, and delivered to his Highness, to his 
great comfort and quietness of mind, in a book entitled The Book 
of the Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and 
other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church after the Use of the 
Church of England : Wherefore the Lords spiritual and temporal 
and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, con- 
sidering as well the most godly travail of the King's Highness, of 
the Lord Protector, and other of his Highness's Council, in gather- 
ing and collecting the said archbishop, bishops, and learned men 
together, as the godly prayers, orders, rites, and ceremonies in 
the said book mentioned, and the considerations of altering 
those things which be altered and retaining those things 
which be retained in the said book, but also the honour of 
God, and great quietness which by the grace of God shall ensue 
upon the one and uniform rite and order in such common prayer 
and rites and extern ceremonies^, to be used throughout England 
and in Wales, at Calais, and the marches of the same, do give to his 
Highness most hearty and lowly thanks for the same, and humbly 
pray that it may be ordained and enacted by his Majesty, with the 
assent of the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament 
assembled and by the authority of the same, that all and singular 
person and persons that have offended concerning the premises, 
other than such person and persons as now be and remain in 
ward in the Tower of London or in the Fleet, may be pardoned 
thereof: and that all and singular ministers in any cathedral or 
parish church, or other place within this realm of England, 
Wales, Calais, and marches of the same, or other the King's 
dominions, shall from and after the Feast of Pentecost next 
coming be bounden to say and use the matins, evensong, celebra- 
tion of the Lord's Supper commonly called the Mass, and admin- 
istration of each of the sacraments, and all their common and 
open prayer, in such order and form as is mentioned in the said 
book and none other or otherwise. 

IL And albeit that the same be so godly and good that they 
^ Outward ceremonies. 


give occasion to every honest and conformable man most willingly 
to embrace them, yet lest any obstinate person who willingly 
would disturb so godly order and quiet in this realm should not 
go unpunished, that it may also be ordained and enacted by the 
authority aforesaid, that if any manner of parson, vicar, or other 
whatsoever minister that ought or should sing or say common 
prayer mentioned in the said book or minister the sacraments, 
shall after the said Feast of Pentecost next coming refuse to use 
the said common prayers or to minister the sacraments in such 
cathedral or parish church or other places as he should use or 
minister the same, in such order and form as they be mentioned 
and set forth in the said book, or shall use, wilfully and obstinately 
standing in the same, any other rite, ceremony, order, form, or 
manner of mass, openly or privily, or matins, evensong, admin- 
istration of the sacraments, or other open prayer than is mentioned 
and set forth in the said book; open prayer in and thrbughout 
this Act is meant that prayer which is for other to come unto and 
hear, either in common churches or private chapels or oratories, 
commonly called the Service of the Church; or shall preach, de- 
clare, or speak anything in the derogation or depraving^ of the 
said book or anything therein contained or of any part thereof, 
and shall be thereof lawfully convicted according to the laws of 
this realm by verdict of twelve men, or by his own confession, 
6r by the notorious evidence of the fact, shall lose and forfeit to 
the King's Highness, his heirs and successors, for his first oiFencei 
the profit of such one of his spiritual benefices or promotions as 
it shall please the King's Highness to assign or appoint coming 
and arising in one whole year next after his conviction; and also 
that the same person so convicted shall for the same offence suffer 
imprisonment by the space of six months without bail or main- 
prize^; and if any such person once convict of any offence con- 
cerning the premises shall after his first conviction eftsoons^ offend 
and be thereof in form aforesaid lawfully convict, that then the 
same person shall for his second offence suffer imprisonment by 
the space of one whole year, and also shall therefor be deprived 
ipso facto of all his spiritual promotions; and that it shall be lawful 
to all patrons, donors, and grantees of all and singular the same 
spiritual promotions to present to the same any other able clerk 
in like manner and form as though the party so offending were 
dead : And that if any such person or persons, after he shall be 
twice convicted in form aforesaid, shall offend against any of the 

1 Vilifying or disparaging 2 See note on p. 10 above. 

* A second time. 


premises the third time and shall be thereof in form aforesaid law- 
fully convicted, that then the person so offending and convicted 
the third time shall suffer imprisonment during his life : And if 
the person that shall offend or be convict in form aforesaid con- 
cerning any of the premises shall not be beneficed nor have any 
spiritual promotion, that then the same person so offending and 
convict shall for the first offence suffer imprisonment during six 
months without bail or mainprize; and if any such person not 
having any spiritual promotion after his first conviction shall 
eftsoons offend in anything concerning the premises and shall 
in form aforesaid be thereof lawfully convicted, that then the 
same person shall for his second offence suffer imprisonment 
during his life. 

III. And it is ordained and enacted bythe authority above-said, 
that if any person or persons whatsoever, after the said Feast of 
Pentecost next coming, shall in any interludes, plays, songs, rhymesj 
or by other open words, declare or speak anything in the derogation, 
depraving, or despising of the same book or of anything therein 
contained or any part thereof, or shall by open fact'-, deed, or by 
open threatenings compel or cause or otherwise procure or main- 
tain any parson, vicar, or other minister, in any cathedral or 
parish church or in any chapel or other place, to sing or say any 
common and open prayer or to minister any sacrament otherwise 
or in any other manner or form than is mentioned in the said 
book, or that by any of the said means shall unlawfully interrupt 
or let^ any parson, vicar, or other ministers in any cathedral or 
parish church, chapel, or any other place to sing or say common 
and open prayer or to minister the sacraments or any of them in 
any such manner and form as is mentioned in the said book, That 
then every person being thereof lawfully convicted in form above- 
said shall forfeit to the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs and 
successors, for the first offence ten pounds; And if any person or 
persons, being once convict of any such offence, eftsoons offend 
against any of the premises and shall in form aforesaid be thereof 
lawfully convict, that then the same person so offending and con- 
vict shall for the second offence forfeit to the King our Sovereign 
Lord, his heirs and successors, twenty pounds; And if any person, 
after he in form aforesaid shall have been twice convict of any 
offence concerning any of the premises, shall offend the third 
time and be thereof in form aforesaid lawfully convict, that then 
every person so offending and coQvict shall for his third offence 

^ In the sixteenth century the commonest sense of 'fact' was an evil deed or 
crime. * Hinder or obstruct. 


forfeit to our Sovereign Lord the King all his goods and chattels 
and shall suffer imprisonment during his life : And if any person 
or persons that for his first offence concerning the premises shall 
be convict in form aforesaid do not pay the sum to be paid by 
virtue of his conviction, in such manner and form as the same 
bught to be paid, within six weeks next after his conviction. That 
then every person so convict and so not paying the same shall 
for the same first offence, instead of the said ten pounds, suffer 
imprisonment by the space of three months without bail or main- 
prize; And if any person or persons that for his second offence 
concerning the premises shall be convict in form aforesaid do 
not pay the sum to be paid by virtue of his conviction, in such 
manner and form as the same ought to be paid, within six weeks 
next after his said second conviction. That then every person so 
convict and not so paying the same shall for the same second 
offence, instead of the said twenty pounds, suffer imprisonment 
during six months without bail or mainprize. 


VI. Provided always that it shall be lawful to any man that 
understandeth the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew tongue, or other 
strange tongue, to say and have the said prayers heretofore speci- 
fied of matins and evensong in Latin or any such other tongue, 
saying the same privately as they do understand: And for the 
further encouraging of learning in the tongues in the Universities 
of Cambridge and Oxford, to use and exercise in their common 
and open prayer in their chapels, being no parish churches or 
other places of prayer, the matins, evensong, litany, and all other 
prayers, the Holy Communion commonly called the Mass ex- 
cepted, prescribed in the said book, in Greek, Latin, or Hebrew; 
Anything in this present Act to the contrary notwithstanding. 

2 & 3 Edw. VI, c. I : Statutes vf the Realm, iv, 37. 

The year 1549 *^so saw the paj^ing of an Act^ legalising the marriage 
of priests. This had been approved by Convocation as early as December, 
1547, and Parliament now gave statutory authority to the change. The 
preamble of the Act affirms the desirability of celibacy for the clergy but 
admits its difficulties, and all positive laws prohibiting the marriage of ecclesi- 
astical or spiritual persons are therefore declared void. A proviso was, how- 
ever, inserted that nothing in the Act should 'extend to give any liberty to 
any person to marry without asking in church or without any other cere- 
mony being appointed' in the Book of Common Prayer. 

1 2 & 3 Edw. VI, c. 21. The Act is printed in Gee and Hardy, p. 366. 


§ 3. Later Religious 'Changes, 1550-53 

The first phase of Edward VI's reign was now drawing to an end. In 
October 1 549 Somerset fell, the Protectorate was abolished, and the pre- 
ponderant influence in the government passed to the Earl of Warwick, 
afterwards Duke of Northumberland — 3. statesman as rapacious and more 
unscrupulous than Somerset,jand without his:}argeness of view. The result 
was a complete chanige of policy. In the constitutional sphere Warwick 
gradually ;«iipplanted .die Regency .which the will , of Henry VIII had set 
up, and brought the young King himself to the front in thegovernment. In 
the sphere of religion he abandoned the more cautious policy of the Pro- 
tector, and greatly accelerated the pace of the Reformation. He played the 
part assigned to him by Hooper df a 'faithful and intrepid soldier of Christ' 
and a' 'most hrily and "fearless instrument of the word of God'^; and when 
his policy had disclosed itself John ab Ulmis wroteof himtwo yrars later, 
'He is manifestly the thunderboltand terror of the papists.'^ As far as religion 
is concerned, Cranmer ,is the link ,be.twefn the two periods, but .Cranmer 
had been carrying his ^edlqgical .speculations farther, and was prepared to 
travel on the road df innovation .far beyond the point which he had reached 
under the Protectorate. 

'{i) Act against superstitious Books and Images, 1550 

This Act is one of the consequences of the First Act df Untforniity. 
As the useof the new Prayer Book was now established by law, the older 
service-books were unnecessary and were to be given up to be destroyed, 
-and the opportunity was taken to continue the, crusade against superstitious 
images in. churches. • 

An Actjor the abolishing and putting away of divers Books 

and Images 

Where tke King's most excellent Majesty hath of late set 
forth and established by authority iof Parliament an uniform, 
quiet, and godly order for common and open prayer, in a book 
entitled, The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the 
Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church after 
the Church df England, to be used and observed in the said 
Church of England, agreeable to the order of the primitive 
Church, much more conformable^ unto his loving subjects than 
other diversity of service as heretofore of long time hath been 
used, being in the said book ordained nothing to 'be read but the 
very pure word of God, or which is evidently grounded upon 
the same, And in the other things corrupt, untrue, vain, and 
superstitious, and as it were a preparation to superstition, which 
for that they be not called in but permitted to remain undefaced, 
do not only give occasion to such perverse persons as do impugn 
1 Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 46. * Gairdner, iii, 294. * Suitable. 

T. D. ^ 


the order and godly meaning of the King's said Book of Common 
Prayer to continue in their old accustomed superstitious service, 
but also minister great occasion to diversity of opinions, rites, 
ceremonies, and services: Be it therefore enacted. . . that all books 
called antiphoners^, naissals, grails^, processionals, manuals, leg- 
ends^, pies^ portuises^, primers^ in Latin or English, couchers', 
journals^, ordinals^, or other books or writings whatsoever here- 
tofore used for service of the Church, written or printed in the 
English or Latin tongue, other than such as are or shall be set 
forth by the King's Majesty, shall be by authority of this present 
Act clearly and utterly abolished, extinguished, and forbidden 
for ever to be used or kept in this realm or elsewhere within any 
the King's dominions. 

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
if any person or persons of what estate, degree, or condition soever 
he, she, or tjiey be, body politic or corporate, that now have or 
hereafter shall have in his, her, or their custody any the books 
or writings of the sorts aforesaid, or any images of stone, timber, 
alabaster, or earth^", graven, carved, or painted, which heretofore 
have been taken out of any church or chapel, or yet stand in any 
church or chapel, and do not before the last day of June next 
ensuing deface and destroy or cause to be defaced and destroyed 
the same images and every of them, and deliver or cause to be 
delivered all and every the same books to the mayor, bailiff, con- 
stable, or churchwardens of the town where such books shall then 
be, to be by them delivered over openly within three months next 
following after the said delivery to the archbishop, bishop, chan- 
cellor, or commissary of the same diocese, to the intent the said 
archbishop^ bishop, chancellor, or commissary and every of them 

^ Chant-books. 
, ^ A 'grail' 6r 'gradual' was an antiphon sung between the Epistle and the Gospel 
at the Eucharist from the steps of the altar. The reference here is to books of such 

* Books of lessons, containing passages from Scripture or from the lives of the 
saints, for use at divine service. 

* 'Pies' were collections of rules for dealing with the concurrence of more than 
one office on the same day in consequence of the variations of Easter {Oxford Dic- 

^ 'Poftuises' were portable breviaries. 
' ' 8 'Primers' were prayer-books or devotional manuals. 

' 'Couchers' were large breviaries which could not be held in the hand but had 
to be kept lying down on a desk or table. 

* Service-books containing the canonical day-hours. 

8 'Ordinals' are here service-books setting forth the order of the service. 
" Clay. 


cause them immediately either to be openly burnt or otherways 
defaced and destroyed, shall for every such book or books willingly 
retained in his, her, or their hands or custody within this realm or 
elsewhere within any the King's dominions, and not delivered as 
is aforesaid after the said last day, of June, and be thereof lawfully 
convict, forfeit and lose to the King our Sovereign Lord for the 
first offence twenty shillings, and for the second offence shall for- 
feit and lose being thereof lawfully convict four pounds, and for 
the third offence shall suffer imprisonment at the King's will. 

V. Provided alway and be it enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That any person or persons may use, keep, have, and retain 
any primers in the English or Latin tongue set forth by the late 
King of famous memory, King Henry the Eighth^; so that the 
sentences of invocation or prayer to saints in the same primers be 
blotted or clearly put out of the same; anything in this Act to the 
contrary notwithstanding. 

VI. Provided always, That this Act or anything therein con- 
tained shall not extend to any image or picture set or graven upon 
any tomb in any church, chapel, or churchyard only for a monu- 
ment of any king, prince, nobleman, or other dead person, which 
hath not been commonly reputed and taken for a saint; but that 
such pictures and images may stand and continue in like manner 
and form as if this Act had never been had or made; anything in 
this Act to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. 

3 & 4 Edw. VI, c. 10: Statutes of the Realm, iv, no. 

(2) Ridley's Injunction concerning the Altar, 1550 

The Injunction concerning the Altar, included among the injunctions 
issued by Ridley at his visitation 'for an uniformity in his Diocese of London,' 
effected a visible change in public worship. The demolition of the altars had 
begun as early as 1548, when the altars of the dissolved chantries had been 
taken down; and now a general destruction of altars in the diocese took 
place, beginning with the removal of the High Altar in St Paul's Cathedral. 

, . . Whereas in divers places some use the Lord's board after 
the form of a table, and some of an altar, whereby dissension is 
perceived to arise among the unlearned; therefore, wishing a 
godly unity to be preserved in all our diocese, and for that the 
form of a table may more move and turn the simple from the old 
superstitious opinions of the Popish Mass, and to the right use of 
the Lord's Supper, we exhort the curates, churchwardens, and 
questmen^ here present, to erect and set up the Lord's board after 

^ Henry VIII's Primer, a private prayer-book, had been set forth by authority 
in 1545. ^ Sidesmen. 



the form of an honest table decently covered, in such place bf the 
choir or chancel as Shall be thoiight most meet'by their discretion 
and agreemertt, so that the ministigrs mth the communicants may 
have their place separated from the rest of the people; and to take 
dotvn and abolish all other by^ltars or tables.. . . 

Burnet, Hhtiry'ofthe Reformation, pt li, bk. i, no. Hi. 

The policy df'RiUley was finally adopted by' the Council and applied to 
the whole kingdom. On November 24, 1550, an instruction was serit in the 
King's name to every bishop 'to give substantial order' that 'with all diligence 
all the altars in every church or chapel . . . within your said diocese to be taken 
down, and instead of them a table to be set up in some convenient part of 
the chancel within every such church or chapel, to serve for the ministration 
of the blessed comrtiUnion.'^ 


This Act inip(^g^diiggg,jjTi^.^^2XH)rider penalties a revisedPrayCT^ook, 
and siibjeJSed' to imprisonment laymen wfio snouM'tf^^'^S'^TS^^^^'^han 
tho se'goi3S n&a'in"fflrrre^^ 

was lEffin^TIiewoFlfSrcranmer, assisted by Ridley. Bucer and Peter Martyr 
gave advice and criticism, but itis probable that the influence of foreign 
divines in its compilation has been much racaggerated. It is neitherLutheran, 
nor Calvinistic, nor even 2Jwinglian, although the alterations in the Com- 
munion Service Isrought it very near to the Zwinglian conception of the 
Lbrd's Supper as a rite thit was merely commemorative^. As' Convocation 
was not consulted and the book was not modified by Parliament, it may 
'be f^artlfed as reflectingi»^ei»a*n««lwafiSSMt^ 

If the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI is compared with the First?, 
a number of differences will be observed, but the following are perhaps the 
most significant: (i) In the First Prayer Book Matins and Evensong had 
begun with the Lord's Prayer; in the Second Book in Morningiand Evening 
Prayer there are inserted before it the Sentences, the Exhortation, the 
Cteneral Confession, and the Absolution, as they stand in the Prayer Book 
now — for the First Book had contemplated auricular confession, and the 
General Confession in the Second Bpok is the reformers' substitute for it. 
.(2) In the First Book, in the service for 'The Supper of the Lord and the 
Holy Communion commonly called the Mass,' the priest had been instructed 
to stand 'humbly afore the midst of the altar'; in the Second Book, in 'The 
Order for Administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion,' he 
is to stand^'at the north side of the table,' and the word 'altar' is changed 
wherever it occurs. Further, it was only by the resistance of Cranmer to a 
determined effort on the part of Knox and Hooper that the rubric was re- 
tained which required the communicants to receive the sacrament kneeling. 

^ This instruction is printed in Cardwell, i, 89. 

" 'It is dear that whatever foreign inspiration there may have been was Zwing- 
lian rather than Calvinistic, and that the point of view adopted was not exactly that 
of any foreign church or any foreign divine in England' (Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 69). 

* See Cardwell, TAe two Booh. . .compared. Cheap reprints of both books have 
been published by Messrs Griffith, Farran, Browne & Co., 35, Bow Street, E.C. 


These changes shew hpw hr Cranmer had.moved from the doctrine of the 
Real Presence which he formerly held, towards a communion of simple 
remembrance*. (3) The First Book, in a rubric concerning vestments pre- 
fixed to the Communion Service, had i^equired'the officiating priest to wear 
'a white alb plain, with a vestment or cope'5 the Second Book, in a rubric 
prefixed to the Order for Morning Prayer, had ordered 'that the minister 
at the time of the Communion and at all other times in his ministration 
shall use neither alb, vestment, nor cope; but being archbishop or bishop, 
he shall haye and wear a rochet; and being a priest or deacon, he shall have 
and wear a surplice only;' (4) The First Book retained while the second exr 
eluded prayers for the dead. In the First Book the prayer for all men in the 
Communion Service had been introduced by the words 'Let us pray for the 
whole state of Christ's Church,' and it had offered 'most high praise and 
hearty thanks .for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all; Thy saints 
from the h@ginning of the world: And chiefly in the glorious and most 
blessed; Virgiij, Mary, Mother of Thy Son jesu Christ our Lordf^ndOpdj 
and in the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs.' It also con- 
tained the petition, 'We commend unto Thy mercy, O Lord, all other Thy 
servants which are departed hence from us with the sign of faith, and now 
do rest in the sleep of peace.' In the Second Book these passages are omitted*, 
and in order to, give no colour to the idea that prayers fbr the dead are in- 
ti^ded, the opening phrase is amended so as to read: 'Let us pray for the 
whole state of Christ's Church militant here in ^rth.' (5) The direction 
to reserve the Sacrament for the sick is withdrawn; the anointing of the 
child in Baptism- is abolished; and the Bishop is no longer to sign with the 
cross in confirmation. 

An Att.for the Uniformityi of Common Ptof^er and 
Administration' of the Sacraments 
Where there hath been a very godly order set fprth^ by 
authority of Parliament for common prayer and the administra- 
tion of the sacraments, to be used in the mother tongue within 
the Church of England, agreeablte. to the word of God ai^d the 
primitive Church, very comfortablte to. all good' people desiring 
to live in Christian conversation, and most profitable to the estate 
of this realm, upon the which the mercy, ^vour, and bltessing of 
Almighty God is in no wise so readily and' plenteously poured as 
by common prayers, due using of the sacrariients, and often 

1 'The best summing up of Cranmer'si views may ... be given in his own word? : 
"figuratively He is the bread and wine, and spiritually He is in them that worthily 
eat and drink the bread and wine; but reallyj carnally, and corporally He is only in 
Heaven, from whence Hie shall come to judge the quick and the dead." These 
words represent Cranmer's mature opinion, from which he only varied, during some 
six weeks in 1556; and when that moment of weakness, had passed he returned to 
the position here indicated. . .' (PoUardi Cranmer, p. 243). 

2 The sentence beginning 'We bless Thy most Holy name for all Thy servants 
departed this life in Thy faith and fear' was not inserted in the Prayer Book until 


preaching of Gospel, with the devotion of the hearers; And yet 
this notwithstanding, a great number of people in divers parts of 
this realm, following their own sensuality and living either without 
knowledge or due fear of God, do wilfully and damnably before 
Almighty God abstain and refuse to come to their parish churches 
and other places where common prayer, administration of the 
sacraments, and preaching of the word of God is used, upon the 
Sundays and other days ordained to be holy days: For reforma- 
tion hereof be it enacted. . .that from and after the Feast of All 
Saints next coming, all and every person and persons inhabiting 
within this realm or any other the King's Majesty's dominions, 
shall diligently and faithfully, having no lawful or reasonable 
excuse to be absent, endeavour themselves to resort to their 
parish church or chapel accustomed, or upon reasonable let^ 
thereof to some usual place where common prayer and such 
service of God shall be used in such time of let, upon every Sunday 
and other da,ys ordained and used to be kept as holy days, and 
then and there to abide orderly and soberly during the time of 
the common prayer, preachings, or other service of God there to 
be used and ministered; upon pain of punishment by the censures 
of the Church. 

II. And for the due execution hereof the King's most ex- 
cellent Majesty, the Lords temporal, and all the Commons in this 
present assembled, doth in Gfod's name earnestly require and 
charge all the archbishops, bishops, and other ordinaries^ that 
they shall endeavour themselves to the uttermost of their know- 
ledge that the due and true execution hereof may be had through- 
out their dioceses and charges, as they will answer before God 
for such evils and plagues wherewith Almighty God may justly 
punish his people for neglecting this good and wholesome law. 

III. And for their authority in this behalf, be it further like- 
wise enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all and singular the 
same archbishops, bishops, and all other their officers exercisifig 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as well in place exempt as not exempt^ 
within their diocese, shall have full power and authority by this 
Act to reform, correct, and punish by censures of the Church all 
and singular persons which shall offend within any their juris- 
dictions or dioceses after the said Feast of All Saints next coming 
against this Act and Statute; any other law, statute, privilege, 
liberty, or provision heretofore made, had, or suffered to the con- 
trary notwithstanding. 

1 Hindrance. 2 See note on p. 66 above. 

^ See note on p. 51 above. 


IV. And because there hath arisen in the use and exercise of 
the foresaid common service in the Church heretofore set forth, 
divers doubts for the fashion and manner of the ministration of 
the same, rather by the curiosity of the minister, and mistakers, 
than of any other worthy cause; therefore as well for the more 
plain and manifest explanation hereof as for the more perfection 
of the said order of common service, in some places where it is 
necessary to make the same prayers and fashion of service more 
earnest and fit to stir Christian people to the true honouring of 
Almighty God; The King's most excellent Majesty, with the 
assent of the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament 
assembled and by the authority of the same, hath caused the fore- 
said order of common service entitled The Book of Common 
Prayer to be faithfully and godly perused, explained, and made 
fully perfect, and by the foresaid authority hath annexed and 
joined it so explained and perfected to this present Statute^, 
adding also a form and manner of making and consecrating arch- 
bishops, bishops, priests, and deacons, to be of like force, author- 
ity, and value as the same like foresaid book entitled The Book 
of Common Prayer was before, and to be accepted, received, 
used, and esteemed in like sort and manner, and with the same 
clauses of provisions and exceptions to all intents, constructions, 
and purposes, as by the Act of Parliament made in the second 
year of the King's Majesty's reign was ordained and limited, 
expressed and appointed, for the Uniformity of Service and 
Administration of the Sacraments throughout the Realm^, upon 
such several pains as in the said Act of Parliament is expressed : 
And the said former Act to stand in full force and strength to all 
intents and constructions, and to be applied, practised, and put in 
ure^ to and for the establishing of the Book of Common Prayer 
now explained and hereunto annexed ^, and also the said form of 
making of archbishops, bishops, priests, and deacons hereunto 
annexed, as it was for the former book. 

V. And by the authority aforesaid it is now further enacted, 
that if any manner of person or persons inhabiting and being 
within this realm or any other the King's Majesty's dominions 
shall after the said Feast of All Saints willingly and wittingly hear 
and be present at any other manner or form of common prayer, 
of administration of the sacraments, of making of ministers in the 
churches, or of any other rites contained in the book annexed to 
this Act^ than is mentioned and set forth in the said book or that 

1 The Book is not on the Parliament Roll nor in the Parliament Office. 
^ See p. 108 above. ' See note on p. 23 above. 


is contrary to'thp form of sundry provisions and exceptions con- 
tained in the foresaid former Statute;, and shall be thereof con- 
victed, according; to the laws of this realm beefore- the JJustieey ©£ 
Assize, Justices of Oyer and Terminer, Justices of Peace in their 
sessions, or any of themi, by the verdict of twelve men or by his 
or their own confession or otherwise, shall for the first offence 
suffer imprisonment for six months without bail or mainprize^, 
and for the second offence being likewise convicted as is above- 
said imprisonment for one whole year, and for the third offeruee 
in. like manner imprisonment during his or their lives. 

VI. And for the more knowledge tO' be given hereof and 
better observation of this law, be it enacted by the authority afore*- 
said that all and singular curates shall upon one Sunday every 
quarter of the year, during; one whole year next following the 
foresaid Feast of All Saints next coming, read this present Act 
in' the church at theitime of the most assembly, and likewise onee 
in every year following; At the same time declaring unto the 
people by the authority of the Scripture how the mercy and good- 
ness of God hath in all ages been shewed to his people in- theiu 
necessities and extremities by means of hearty and faithful 
prayers made- to Almighty God; especially where people be 
gathered together with one faith) and mind to offer up their hearts 
by prayer, as the best sacrifices that Christian men can. yield. 

5 & &< Edw. VI, c. I : Statutes of the Realm, iv> 130^ 

* See n'oteon' p. 10 sbore. 

The Church Settlement of Mary 

bases. T he firefc, 
^Bishop of 

The religious; history of Mary?s. reign 
from 1553. to 1554, was presmea over oy Stephen 
Winchester, who in the reign ofi the Queen's predecessor had specially re 
presented the policy of Henry VIII. The second,. from 1-554. to 1558, saw 
the Spanish marriage, and the eclipse of Gardiner's influence by that of 
Cardinal P&le, who as Papal Legate carried great weight with the Queen. 
In the first Dha5i(;iitlafii,iMiflidr>.iafcMTWflid.-iSTiiiiyi^^^ hj the Papal 

authority operating by m^ns of bulls from Ro^gy^e>m^^ 
tut iortai process wiu j ^ Ji^tLMi ^S w^P^^^SX^^^^^^^^ — "'" '"" 

statutes passed in Parliamgql^^Qd P3rtly,_fay die Ro" 

by visitation'aSiT1!l|tinctioa 

undoing of the work of Henry VllK am 



nee— partly by 

remacy wonsif^g 


This Act 'involved the renunciatioj 
eftorts dunHg Tttff'llreCEflmiV reign- — the 

m Mary's First Statut£LQLRfineaL-XS.S.q 

feign- — the iietomied Liturgy, the First and 
both kinrCandirrFeeogSmffif^ 
not allowed to pass without considerable opposition.'^ 

/in Act for the Repeal of certain Statutes made in the time of 
the Reign of King Edward the Sixth 

Forasmuch as by dlvetrs and. several Acts hereafter metir- 
tioned^! as well the divine service and good administration of the 
sacraments as divers other matters of religion' which we and our 
forefathers found in- this Church of England to us left by the 
authority of the Catholic Church, be partly altered and in some 
part, taken from us, and in place thereof new things imagined 
and set forth by the said Acts, such as a few of singularity have 
of themselves, devised, whereof hath ensued, amongst us in very 
short time numbers of divers and strange opinions; and diversities 
of sects, and thereby growni great unquietness and much discord", 
to the great disturbance of the common wealth^ of this realmi,and 
in very short time like to grow to extreme peril and utter confusion 
of the same, unltess some remedy be in that behalf provided, which 
thing all true, loving, and obedient subjects ought and are 
bounden to foresee and provide to the uttermost of their 
power : In consideration whereof Be it enacted [here follows- the 
repeal of i Edw. VI, c. i, concerning the Sacrament: af the Altar; 
^ C.M.H. ii, 522. * See note on p. 33 above. 


I Edw. VI, c. 2, concerning the Election of Bishops; 2 & 3 Edw. 
VI, c. I, the First Act of Uniformity ; 2 & 3 Edw. VI, c. 21, con- 
cerning the Marfiage of Priests; 3 & 4 Edw. VI, c. 10, concerning 
Images; 3 & 4 Edw. VI, c. 12, 'An Act for the ordering of Ecclesi- 
astical Ministers'; 5 Si 6 Edw. VI, c. i, the Second Act of Uni- 
formity; 5 & 6 Edw. VI, c. 3, 'An Act for the Keeping of Holy 
Days and Fasting Days' ; and S ^ ^ Edw. VI, c. 12, a declaratory 
Act concerning the Marriage of Pries ts'\. 

II. And Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
all such Divine Service and Administration of Sacraments as were 
most commonly used in the realm of England in the last year of 
the reign of our late Sovereign Lord King Henry the Eighth, 
shall be, from and after the 20th day of December in this present 
year of our Lord God one thousand five hundred fifty and three, 
used and frequented through the whole realm of England and 
all other the Queen's Majesty's dominions; And that no other 
kind nor order of Divine Service nor Administration of Sacra- 
ments be after the said 20th day of December used or ministered 
in any other manner, form, or degree within the said realm of 
England or other the Queen's dominions than was most com- 
monly used, ministered, and frequented in the said last year of 
the reign of the said late King Henry the Eighth. 

^ ^ ^|t ^ # # 

I Mary, St. 2, c. 2: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 202. 

The Statute of Repeal was followed by the Marian Injunctions of 1 554^ 
which are probably the work of Bonner. They were sent by the Queen to 
the bishops for enforcement in Malrch. Unlike the important constructive 
injunctions of Henry VIII and Edward VI, these merely require the bishops 
to restore the old order within their respective jurisdictions. They are to 
'have a vigilant eye and use special diligence and foresight' to see that 
heretics are not admitted to benefices; they are 'diligently' to 'travail for 
die repressing of heresies and notable crimes, especially in the clergy' and 
' for the condemning and repressing of corruptand naughty opinions, unlawful 
books, ballads, and other perriicious and hurtful devices^ engendering hatred 
among the people and discord among the same'; and they are to punish and 
remove 'schoolmasters, preachers, and teachers' who set forth 'any evil or 
corrupt doctrine.' Married priests are to be deprived 'with all celerity and 
speed'; Latin processions are to be revived; such holy days and fasting days 
are to be kept as in ' the latter time of King Henry VI 11 ' ; and ' laudable and 
honest ceremonies' are to be revived. 


The Spanish marriage wasweiywTieiFmwtunpo^S. 'ffle marriage 
treaty was signed at Westminster on January 1 2, 1 554, and was immediately 
^ Printed in Gee and Hardy, p. 380. 


followed by Sir Peter Carew's insurrection in Devonshire, and by the much 
more formidable rising, under Sir Thomas Wyatt in Kent. When Parlia- 
ment met on April 2 to confirm the treaty, the precaution was taken of 
vesting the regal power by statute in the Queen as fully as it had ever been 
vested in a king, so as to remove all excuse for foreign meddling. The con- 
stitutional importance of this statute lies in the fact that it finally disposed of 
the doctrine that a woman could not succeed to the throne of England in 
her own right. 

An Act declaring that the Regal Power of this Realm is in the Queen's 
Majesty as fully and absolutely as ever it was in any of her most 
noble Progenitors, Kings of this Realm 

Forasmuch as the imperial Crown of this realm, with all 
dignities, honours, prerogatives, authorities, jurisdictions, and 
preeminences thereunto annexed, united, and belonging, by the 
Divine Providence of Almighty God is most lawfully, justly, and 
rightfully descended and come unto the Queen's Highness that 
now is, being the very true and undoubted heir and inheritrix 
thereof, and invested in her most Royal Person, according unto 
the laws of this realm; And by force and virtue of the same all 
regal power, dignity, honour, authority, prerogative, preemi- 
nence, and jurisdictions doth appertain, and of right ought to apper- 
tain and belong unto her Highness, as to the sovereign supreme 
Governor and Queen of this realm and the dominions thereof, 
in as full, large, and ample manner as it hath done heretofore to 
any other her most noble progenitors, kings of this realm: Never- 
theless the most ancient statutes of this realm being made by 
Kings then reigning, do not only attribute and refer all preroga- 
tive, preeminence, power, and jurisdiction royal unto the name 
of King, but also do give, assign, and appoint the correction and 
punishment of all offenders against the regality and dignity of 
the Crown and the laws of this realm unto the King; By occasion 
whereof the malicious and ignorant persons may be hereafter in- 
duced and persuaded unto this error and folly, to think that her 
Highness could nor should have, enjoy, and use such like royal 
aulJbority, power, preeminence, prerogative, and jurisdiction, nor 
do nor execute and use all things concerning the said statutes, 
and take the benefit and privilege of the same, nor correct and 
punish offenders against her most Royal Person and the regality 
and dignity of the Crown of this realm and the dominions thereof, 
as the kings of this realm her most noble progenitors have here- 
tofore done, enjoyed, used, and exercised: For the avoiding and 
clear extinguishment of which said error or doubt, and for a plain 
declaration of the laws of this realm in that behalf; Be it declared 


and enacted: by the authority of this present Parliament, that the 
law of this realm is and ever hath been- and ought to be under- 
stood, that the kingly or regal' office of the realm, and.' all 
dignities, prerogative royal^ power, preeminences, privilfeges, 
authorities,, and jurisdictions thereunto annexed, united, or ber 
longing, being invested either in male or femaJe,. are and, be and 
ought to be as fully, wholly, absolutely, and entirely deemed, 
judged, accepted, invested, and taken in the one as in the other; 
so that what and whensoever statute or law doth limit and appoint 
that the King of this realm may or shall have, executCj and do 
anything as King, or doth give any profit or commodity to the 
King, or doth limit or appoint any pains or punishment for the 
correction of offenders or transgressors against the regality and 
dignity of the King or of the Crown, The same the Queen (being 
supreme Governess, possessor, and inheritor to the imperial 
Crown of this realm as our said Sovereign Lady the Queen most 
justly presently is) may by the same authority and power like- 
wise have, execcise, execute^ punish, correct, and do, to all intents, 
constructions, and purposes, without doubt, ambiguity, scruple, 
or question: Any custom, use, or scEuplCj or any other thing 
whatsoever tobe made to the contrary notwithstanding. 

I Mary, st. 2i c i : Statutes of the R^a/m',.ivj 222. 

(3) Act reviving the Heresy Laws, 1554 

An attempt to restore the heresy laws hadi already been, made in the 
Queen's secojtjd-Parliapient,, where two bills, one reviving; the statutes: against 
the LoUards and the other the Act of Six Articles>,had. passed the. Commons, 
but had failed to pass the Lords. In the third Parliament this question g^ye 
little trouble and thus the way was prepared for the Marian persecution. 

A^ Act. for) the renemmg of three Statutes made for the 
pumshmenti of Uemsiest 

For the eschewing and avoiding of errors and heresies which 
of late have risen, grown, and much increased within this realm, 
for that the ordinariies^' have wanted authority to proceed against 
those that were infected therewith : Be it therefore ordained and 
enacted by the authority of this present Parliament, That the 
Statute made in the fifth year of the neign of King Richard the 
Second concerning the arresting and apprehension of erroneous 
and heretiiea-I preachers^, And one other Statute made in the 

'^ See.note on p.. 66. ' 

* 5 Rich. IT, c. 5, the forged Act of 1 3 82, authorising the secular, authorities, on 
the certificate of the bishops, to arrest heretical; preachers. For an account of this Act 
see Stephen, ii, 443. 


second year of the reign of King Henry the Fourth concerning 
the repressing of heresies and punishment of heretics^, And 
also one other Statute made in the second year of the reign of 
King Henry the Fifth concerning the suppression of heresy and 
iLoUardy^, and every article, branch, and sentence contained in 
the same three several Acts and every of them, shall from the 
'2oth day off January next coming be revived and be in full force, 
strength, and effect, to all intents, constructions, and purposes for 

I & 2 Philip & Mary, c. 6: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 244. 

(4) Mary's Second Statute of Repeal, 1555 

On November: 29, 1554, Mary's third Parliament passed a petition for 
reconciliation with Rome, and on St Andrew's Day (November 30J the 
"King and Queen in Parliament assembled received at Whitehall solemn 
■absolution at the harids of Cardinal Pole as Papal Legate. On the following 
Sunday, being the First Sunday in Advent, even Gardiner abandoned his 
position as the defender of the work of Henry VIII in a sermon at St Paul's 
•from the text, 'Now it is high time to awake out of sleep!' The Second 
Statute of Repeal may be regarded as embodying the terms of the bargain 
with the Papacy. It made a clean sweep of all the Acts passed against Rome 
since the year 1528, with an important exception — it did not repeal the 
Dissolution Acts. Indeed, a considerable part of the enacting clauses of the 
Statute is devoted to securing'the rights of the holders of the abbey lands.- 
This was the price which Mary had to pay to the English nobility for the 
reconciliation with Rome. 

An Act repealing all Statutei, Articles, and Provisions made against 
the See Apostolic of Rome since the 20th year of King Henry the 
Eighth, and also for the establishment of all Spiritual and 
•Ecclesiastical Possessions and Hereditaments conveyed to the Laity 

Whereas since the 20th year of King Henry the Eighth 
of famous memory, father unto your Majesty our most natural 
Sovereign and gracious Lady and Queen, much false and errone- 
ous doctrine hath been taught, preached, and written, partly by 
divers the natural-born sub^'ects of this realm, and partly being 
bi-ought in hither from sundry other foreign countries, hath been 
sown and spread abroad within the same; By reason whereof as 
-well the spiritualty as the temporalty of your Highness's realms 
fand dominions have swerved from the obedience of the See 
■Apostolic and declined from the unity of Christ's Church, and 
so have continued, until such time as your Majesty being first 
raised up by God and set in the seat royal over us, and then by 

1 2 Henr. IV, c. 1 5 (1401): see p. 95 above. 

2 2 Henr. V, st. i, c. 7(1414): see p. 95 above. 


his divine and gracious Providence knit in marriage with the 
most noble and virtuous prince, the King our Sovereign Lord 
your husband, the Pope's Holiness and the See Apostolic sent 
hither unto your Majesties (as unto persons undefiled and by 
God's goodness preserved from the common infection aforesaid) 
a,nd to the whole realm, The most Reverend Father in God the 
Lord Cardinal Pole, Legate de latere, to call us home again into 
the right way, from whence we have all this long while wandered 
and strayed abroad: And we after sundry long and grievous 
plagues and calamities, seeing by the goodness of God our own 
errors, have acknowledged the same unto the said most Reverend 
Father, and by him have been and are the rather at the con- 
templation of your Majesties received and embraced into the 
unity and bosom of Christ's Church; and upon our humble sub- 
mission and promise made, for a declaration of our repentance, 
to repeal and abrogate such acts and statutes as had been made in 
Parliament since the said 20th year of the said King Henry, the 
Eighth against the Supremacy of the See Apostolic, as in our 
submission exhibited to the said most Reverend Father in God 
by your Majesties appeareth: The tenor whereof ensueth: 

We the Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons 
assembled in this present Parliament, representing the whole body 
of the realm of England and the dominions of the same, In the 
name of ourselves particularly and also of the said body univer- 
sally in this our supplication directed to your Majesties, with 
most humble suit that it may by your Graces' intercession and 
meani be exhibited to the most Reverend Father in God the Lord 
Cardinal Pole, Legate sent specially hither from our most Holy 
Father the Pope Julius the Third and the See Apostolic of Rome, 
Do declare ourselves very sorry and repentant of the schism and 
disobedience committed in this realm and dominions aforesaid 
against the said See Apostolic, either by making, agreeing, or 
executing any laws, ordinances, or commandments against the 
Supfeniacy of the said See, or otherwise doing or speaking that 
might impugn the same; offering ourselves and promising by 
this our supplication that for a token and knowledge of our said 
repentance we be and shall be always ready, under and with the 
authorities of your Majesties, to the utmost of our powers, to do 
that shall lie in us for the abrogation and repealing of the said 
laws and ordinances in this present Parliament as well for our- 
selves as for the whole body whom we represent: Whereupon we 
most humbly desire your Majesties, as personages undefiled in 
^ See note on p. 65 above. 


the oiFence of this body towards the said See, which nevertheless 
God by his Providence hath made subject to you, To set forth 
this our most humble suit that we may obtain from the See Apos- 
tolic by the said most Reverend Father, as well {particularly as 
generally, absolution, release, and discharge from all danger of 
such censures and sentences^ as by the laws of the Church we be 
fallen into: And that we may as children repentant be received 
into the bosom and unity of Christ's Church, so as this noble 
realm with all the members thereof may in this unity and perfect 
obedience to the See Apostolic and Popes for the time being serve 
God and your Majesties to the furtherance and advancement of 
his honour and glory, We are at the intercession of your Majesties 
by the authority of our Holy Father Pope Julius the Third and 
of the See Apostolic assoiled, discharged, and delivered from 
excommunication, interdictions, and other censures ecclesiastical 
which hath hanged over our heads for our said defaults since the 
time of the said schism mentioned in our supplication. It may 
now like your Majesties that for the accomplishment of our 
promise made in the said supplication, that is to repeal all laws 
and statutes made contrary to the said Supremacy and See Apos- 
tolic during the said schism, the which is to be understood since 
the 20th year of the reign of the said late King Henry the Eighth, 
and so the said Lord Legate doth accept and recognise the same. 

[II repeals the clauses of 21 Henr. VIII, c. 13 (in restraint of plurali- 
ties) which forbade the procuring from Rome of dispensations for pluralities 
or non-residence.] 

[Ill repeals 23 Henr. VIII, c. 9, in restraint of citations; 24 Henr. 
VIII, c. 1 2, in restraint of appeals; 23 Henr. VIII, c. 20, for the conditional 
restraint of annates; 25 Henr. VIII, c. 19, for the submission of the clergy; 
25 Henr. VIII, c. 20, in absolute restraint of annates and for the election 
of bishops; and 25 Henr. VIII, c. 21, the Dispensations Act.] 

[IV repeals 26 Henr. VIII, c. i, the Act of Supremacy; 26 Henr. VIII, 
c. 14, for the consecration of suffragans; 27 Henr. VIII, c. 15, for the 
appointment of a commission of 32 persons for the making of ecclesiastical 
laws; 28 Henr. VIII, c. 10, 'extinguishing the authority of the Bishop of 
Rome'; 28 Henr. VIII, c. 16, 'for the release of such as have obtained pre- 
tended licences and dispensations from the see of Rome'; 28 Henr. VIII, 
c. 7, § 7, i.e. that part of the Second Succession Act which 'concerneth a 
prohibition to marry within the degrees expressed in the said Act '2; 31 
Henr. VIII, c. 9, authorising the King to erect new bishoprics and to 
appoint bishops to them by letters patent; 32 Henr. VIII, c. 38, ' concerning 

1 'Sentence' is applied technically to the judgment of an ecclesiastical court. 

^ This had contained a provision that persons marrying within the prohibited 
degrees should be separated by judgment of the Bishop's Court, without any appeal 
to Rome. 


pre-contracts of marriages and degrees of consanguinity''.; and 35 
Henr. Vm,<c. 3, concerning the King's :Stjyle 2. J 

[V rep«als'§ yof 35 Henr. VIII, c i, the Third Succession Act, which 
had imposed an oath of supremacy.] 

[VI repeals 37 Henr. Viri, c. 17, entitled 'An Act that the Doctors 
df the'Civil Law may exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction.'^] 

[Vn repeals §•§ 5 and 6 of i Edw. 'V4, c. 12*, which had assigned 
penalties for preadhing^againSt the Royal'SupremaGy or affirming thatithe 
Bishop of IRome is Supreme ;Head.'] 

VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
That all clauses, sentences, and artidles' of every other statute or 
Act of Parliament imade:since:the said 20th year df the reign of 
'Sing Henry the 'Eighth against the supreme authority of the 
IPope'B Holiness or See Apostolic of -Rome, or containing any 
other matter of the same :ei^Gt' only, that is repealed in any of the 
statutes aforesaid, shall 'be also by authority hereof from hence- 
forth utterly void, frustrate, and of none effect. 

[IX.f| . . .And finally, where certain acts and statutes have 
bieen made lin the time of the late schism concerning^'the lands 
and hereditaments of archbishoprics and bishoprics, the suppres- 
sion and dissolution of monasteries, abbeys, 1 priories, chantries, 
ctilleges,)and all other the goods and :ci:attels of 1 religious houses, 
Since the which time the right and dominion of certain lands and 
hereditaments,,gQod«.and chattels, belonging to the same be dis- 
t^persed -abroad and come to the hands and possessions oft divers 
and sundry persons who by gift, purchase, exchange, and other 
means, according to the order of the laws and statutes ofithis 
realm for the time being, have 'the same: For the avoiding of all 
scruples that mjght grow by any the occasions afore^id or by 
any other ways or means whatsoever, Itimayjilease your Majesties 
to be intercessors and mediators to the said most Reverend 
'-Father Cardinal Pole, That all such causes and quarrels as by 
■pretence of the said schism or by any other occasion or mean 

1 This Act had denounced 'the usurped power of thelBishop of Rome' by 
which lawful marriages had been dissolved on pretence of pre-contract, and had 
forbidden such dissolution. 

2 This' Act, declaring the' King's style, had described him as 'of the Church of 
England and also of Ireland in earth the Supreme Head.' 

» This Act, after again declaring the King to be Supreme- Head, repudiated 
the ordinances of 'the Bishop of Rome and his adherents,' whereby, in order that 
'they might gather and get to themselves the government and rule of the world,' they 
had prohibited the exercising of spiritual jurisdiction by married men or laymen, 
and allowed doctors of the civil law being laymen or married to exercise such 

* 'An Act for the repeal of certain statutes concerning treasons, felonies.-etc' 


whatsoever might be moved, by the Pope's Holiness or See Apos- 
tolic or by any other jurisdiction ecclesiastical, may be utterly re- 
moved and taken away, so as all persons having sufficient con- 
veyance of the said lands and hereditaments, goods and chattels, 
as is aforesaid by the common laws, acts, or statutes of this realm, 
may without scruple of conscience enjoy them, without impeach- 
ment or trouble by pretence of any General Council, canons, or 
ecclesiastical laws, and clear from all dangers of the censures of 
the Church. 

[XIII— XXVI are mainly concerned with saving the rights of the 
holders of the abbey lands.] 

I & 2 Philip & Mary, c. 8: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 246. 


The Church Settlement of Elizabeth 

§ I . The Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity 
The Elizabethan Church ,Sett;Jpinent was, fa^pd£l.uBgnJtvTOimgO£&nt 


ent rMy fflgg ffl^fflESEoSty.' as Convocation was not corisullea^"' '' ancTtne 
P^;@i^.toi?JB^§?d^^te9«5«*^«ngt,p*ek^^ spiritual peers ^pSSW 

the Actof Supremacy in the House of Lords, but they stood alone. In their 
opposition to the Act of Uniformity they were, however, reinforced by 
some of the temporal lords, and the bill only escaped shipwreck in the Upper 
House by a majority of three'. 

The Act of Supremacy repealed MaiVs^cond Statute of Repeal, and 
so brought into force again the statutes orTI^ry VXl T.&M.^^^^n and 
restored the tlenrician relation to Rome; but it treated the Supremacy arter 


\ in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes as temporal.' T ljjg Act als o 

ecclesiasticaLauthanJy.and renouncing all foreign jurisdiction, to He taken 
by all ecclesiastical and lay officials. T his oath was used to deprive the Marian 
bishops and to assure the government a majority in the House of Lords. 

j4» Act restoring to the Crown the ancient Jurisdiction over the State 
Ecclesiastical and Spiritual, and abolishing all Foreign Power 
repugnant to the same 

Most humbly beseech your most excellent Majesty your 
faithful and obedient subjects the Lords spiritual and temporal 
and the Commons in this your present Parliament assembled; 
That where in time of the reign of your most dear Father of 
worthy memory, King Henry the Eighth, divers good laws and 
statutes were made and established, as well for the utter extin- 
guishment and putting away of all usurped and foreign powers 
and authorities out of this your realm and other your Highness's 
dominions and countries, as also for the restoring and uniting to . 
the imperial Crown of this realm the ancient jurisdictions, 
authorities, superiorities, and preeminences to the same of right 
belonging and appertaining; by reason whereof we your most 

1 Gwatkin, p. 224. « Polkrd, Polit. Hist. p. 199. 3 U. p. 208. 

* A corporal oath is an oath ratified by corporally touching a sacred object, e.g. 
the Gospels {Oxford Dictionary). 


humble and obedient subjects, from the five and twentieth year 
of the reign of your said dear Father, were continually kept in 
good order, and were disburdened of divers great and intolerable 
charges and exactions before that time unlawfully taken and ex- 
acted by such foreign power and authority as before that was 
usurped, until such time as all the said good laws and statutes 
by one Act of Parliament made in the first and second years of the 
reigns of the late King Philip and Queen Mary, your Highness's 
sister, entitled An Act repealing all Statutes, Articles, and Provi- 
sions made against the See Apostolic of Rome since the twentieth 
year of King Henry the Eighth, and also for the Establish- 
ment of all Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Possessions and Heredita- 
ments conveyed to the Laity^, were all clearly repealed and made 
void, as by the same Act of Repeal more at large doth and may 
appear: By reason of which Act of Repeal your said humble sub- 
jects were eftsoons^ brought under an usurped foreign power and 
authority, and yet do remain in that bondage, to the intolerable 
charges of your loving subjects if some redress by the authority 
of this your High Court of Parliament with the assent of your 
Highness be not had and provided; May it thereiore please your 
Highness, for the repressing of the said usurped foreign power 
and the restoring of the rights, jurisdictions, and preeminences 
appertaining to the imperial Crown of this your realm. That it 
may be enacted by the authority of this present Parliament, That 
the said Act. . .and all and every branch, clauses, and articles 
therein contained (other than such branches, clauses, and sentences 
as hereafter shall be excepted) may from the last day of this session 
of Parliament, by authority of this present Parliament, be.repealed, 
and shall from thenceforth be utterly void and of none eifFect. 

II. And that also for the reviving of divers of the said good 
laws and statutes made in the time of your said dear Father, It 
may also please your Highness. . . [the 'following statutes are then 
revived: 23 Henr. VIII, c. 9, Foreign Citations; 24 Henr. VIII, c. 
12, Appeals to Rome; 23 Henr. VIII, c. 20, Payment of Annates; 
25 Henr. VIII, c. 19, Submission of the Clergy; 25 Henr. VIII, c. 
20, Consecration of Bishops; 25 Henr. VIII, c. 2i, Exactions from 
Rome; 26 Henr. VIII, c. 14, Suffragans; 28 Henr. VIII, c. 16, 
Dispensations]... And all and every branches, words, and sentences 
in the said several Acts and Statutes contained, by authority of 
this present Parliament from and at all times after the last day of 
this session of Parliament, shall be, revived and shall stand and 

1 I & 2 Philip & Mary, c. 8 (Mary's Second Statute of Repeal): see p. 125 
above. ^ A second time. 

9— a 


be in full force and strength to all intents, constructions, and pur- 
poses; And that the branches, sentences, and words of the said 
several Acts and every of them from thenceforth shall and may 
be judged, deemed, and taken to extend to your Highness, your 
heirs and successors, as fully and largely as ever the same Acts or 
any of them did extend to the said late King Henry the Eighth, 
your Highness's Father. 

IV. And that it may also please your Highness that it may 
be further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That all other laws 
and statutes, and the branches and clauses of any act or statute, 
repealed and made void by the said Act of Repeal . . . and not in 
this present Act specially mentioned iand 'revived, shall stand, re- 
main, and be repealed and void, in such like manner and form as 
they were before the making of this Act; Anything herein con- 
tained to the contrary notwithstanding. 

[V revives i Edw. VI, c. i, concerning communion in both kinds.] 
[VI repeals the heresy laws revived by Mary, and the Act which revived 

VII. And to the intent that all usurped and foreign power 
and authority, spiritual and temporal, may for ever be clearly ex- 
tinguished and never to be used nor obeyed within this realm or 
any other your Majesty's dominions or countries : May it please 
your Highness that it may be further enacted by the authority 
aforesaid. That no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or poten- 
tate, spiritual or temporal, shall at any time after the last day of 
this session of Parliament use, enjoy. Or exercise any manner of 
power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, preeminence, or privi- 
lege, spiritual or ecclesiastical, within this realm or within any 
other your Majesty's dominions or countries that now be or 
hereafter shall be, but from thenceforth the same shall be 
clearly abolished out of this realm and all other your Highness's 
dominions for ever; Any statute, ordinance, custom, constitu- 
tions, or any other matter or cause whatsoever to the contrary in 
any wise notwithstanding. 

VIII. And also that it may likewise please your Highness 
that it may be established and enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
That such jurisdictions, privileges, superiorities, and preemi- 
nences, spiritual and ecclesiastical, as by any spiritual or ecclesias- 
tical power or authority hath heretofore been or may lawfully be 
exercised or used for the visitation of the ecclesiastical state and 
persons, and for reformation, order, and correction of the same, 
and of all manner o^ errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, offences, 


contempts, and enormities, shall for e^^er by authority of this 
present Parliament be united and annexed to the imperial Crown 
of this realm; And that your Highness, your heirs and successors, 
kings or queens of this realm, shall have full power and authority, 
by virtue of this Act, by letters patents under the great seal of 
England to assign, name, and authorise, when and as often as 
your Highness, your heirs or successors, shall think meet and 
convenient, and for such and so long time as shall please your 
Highness, your heirs or successors, such person or persons being 
natural born subjects to your Highness, your heirs or successors, as 
your Majesty, your heirs or successors, shall think meet, to exercise, 
use, occupy, and execute under your Highness, your heirs and 
successors, all manner of jurisdictions, privileges, and preeminences 
in any wise touching or concerning any spiritual or ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction within these your realms... and to visit, reform, re- 
dress, order, correct, and amend all such errors, heresies, schisms, 
abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities whatsoever which by 
any manner spiritual or ecclesiastical power, authority, or jurisdic- 
tion can or may lawfully be reformed, ordered, redressed, corrected, 
restrained, or amended, to the pleasure of Almighty God, the in- 
crease of virtue, and the conservation of the peace and unity of this 
realm; And that such person or persons so to be named, assigned, 
authorised, and appointed by your Highness, your heirs or suc- 
cessors, after the said' letters patents to him or them made and de- 
livered as is aforesaid, shall have full power and authority, by virtue 
of this Act and of the said letters patents, under your Highness, 
your heirs or successors, to exercise, use, and execute all the pre- 
mises according to the tenor and effect of the said letters patents; 
Any matter or cause to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. 
IX. And for the better observation and maintenance of this 
Act, may it please your Highness that it may be further enacted 
by the authority aforesaid. That all and every archbishop, bishop, 
and all and every other ecclesiastical person and other ecclesias- 
tical officer and minister, of what estate, dignity, preeminence, or 
degree soever he or they be or shall be, and all and every temporal 
judge, justicer, mayor, and other lay or temporal officer and minis- 
ter, and every other person having your Highness's fee or wages 
within this realm or any your Highness's dominions, shall make, 
take, and receive a corporal oath^ upon the Evangelist, before 
such person or persons as shall please your Highness, your heirs 
or successors, under the great seal of England to assign and name 
to accept and take the same, according to the tenor and effect 
^ See note on p. 130 above. 


hereafter following, thafis to say: I, A. B., do utterly testify and 
declare in my conscience that the Queen's Highness is the only 
Supreme Governor of this realm and of all other her Highness's 
dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical 
things or causes as temporal, and that no foreign prince, person, 
prelate, state, or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, 
power, superiority, preeminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or 
spiritual, within this realm, and therefore I do utterly renounce 
and forsake all foreign jurisdictions, powers, superiorities, and 
authorities, and do promise that from henceforth I shall bear faith 
and true allegiance to the Queen's Highness, her heirs and law- 
ful successors, and to my power shall assist and defend all juris- 
dictions, . preeminences, privileges, and authorities granted or 
belonging to the Queen's Highness, her heirs and successors, or 
united or annexed to the imperial Crown of this realm : So help 
me God and by the contents of this Book. 

[X attaches to refusal to take the oath the penalty of loss of 'every 
ecclesiastical and spiritual promotion, benefice, and office, and every tem- 
poral and lay promotion and office' which the person so refusing holds 'at 
the time of such refusal made,' 'and that also all and every such person and 
persons' so refusing to take the said oath shall immediately after such refusal 
be from thenceforth during his life disabled to retain or exercise any office 
or other promotion which he at the time of such refusal hath jointly or in 
common with any other person or persons.' Persons hereafter preferred 'to 
any archbishopric or bishopric, or to any other spiritual or ecclesiastical 
benefice, promotion, dignity, office or mmistry, or. . .to any temporal or 
lay office, ministry, or service,' are required to take the oaui before they 
'receive, use, exercise, supply^ or occupy' such office.] 

XIV. And for the more sure observation of this Act and the 
utter extinguishment of all foreign and usurped power and author- 
ity. May it please your Highness that it may be further enacted 
by the authority aforesaid. That if any person or persons dwelling 
or inhabiting within this your realm or in any other your High- 
ness's realms or dominions, of what estate, dignity, or degree 
soever he or they be, after the end of thirty days next after the 
determination of this session of this present Parliament, shall by 
writing, printing, teaching, preaching, express words, deed, or 
act, advisedly, maliciously, and directly affirm, hold, stand with, 
set forth, maintain, or defend the authority, preeminence, power, 
or jurisdiction, spiritual or ecclesiastical, of any foreign prince, 
prelate, person, state, or potentate whatsoever, heretofore claimed, 
used, or usurped within this realm or any dominion or country 
being within or under the power, dominion, or obeisance of your 


Highness, or shall advisedly, maliciously, or directly put in ure* 
or execute anything for the extolling, advancement, setting forth, 
maintenance, or defence of any such pretended or usurped juris- 
diction, power, preeminence, or authority, or any part thereof, 
that then every such person and persons so doing and offending, 
their abettors, aiders, procurers, and counsellors, being thereof 
lawfully convicted and attainted according to the due order and 
course of the common laws of this realm, \shall be subject to the 
following penalties: for the first offence, forfeiture of goods, or if these 
are not worth fjio, one yearns imprisonment, the benefices and pro- 
motions of ecclesiastics becoming void; for the second offence, the 
penalties of praemunire; the third off ence is to be deemed high treason\. 

XX. Provided always and be it enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That such person or persons to whom your Highness, your 
heirs or successors, shall hereafter by letters patents under the 
great seal of England give authority to have or execute any juris- 
diction, power, or authority spiritual, or to visit, reform, order, 
or correct any errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, or enormities by 
virtue of this Act, shall not in any wise have authority or power to 
order, determine, or adjudge any matter or cause to be heresy 
but only such as heretofore have been determined, ordered, or 
adjudged to be heresy by the authority of the canonical Scriptures, 
or by the first four General Councils^ or any of them, or by any 
other General Council wherein the same was declared heresy by 
the express and plain words of t|ie said canonical Scriptures, or 
such as hereafter shall be ordered judged, or determined to be 
heresy by the High Court of PaSiament of this realm with the 
assent of the Clergy in their Convocation; Anything in this Act 
contained to the contrary notwithstanding. 

I Eliz. c. I : Statutes of the Realm, iv, 350. 

(2) Act of Uniformity, 1559 

The Act of ymfQnry^uJasaKt^hgKa^ of Henry Vllljind 

Church of England definitely on the side of the R erorm ation in Europe. It 

^ See note on p. 23 above. 

2 I, The Council of Nicaea (325), which dealt with the Arian heresy; 2, the 
Council of Constantinople (381), directed against the followers of Macedonius, who 
impugned the Divinity of the Holy Ghost; 3, the Council of Ephesus (431), which 
pronounced against the Nestorian and Pelagian heresies; 4, the Council of Chalcedon 
(451), which defined the two natures, divine and human, in Christ against Eutyches, 
who was excommunicated (Catholic Encyclopedia, iv, 425). 


authorises one form of public worship and prohibits all others u nder pena l- 

?fl^etB&^::;Wwc£uii6uslymmW€A s6t§i6~minmtStm§p^^^ni to 
compreh^fith^^maiw' as' possiBK*TB&''*%^ changes are: 

(i) die substitution for Edward VI's rubric about vestments, which had en- 
joined the use of the surplice only, the difficult and ambiguous Ornaments 
Rubric, reverting to the practice of the First Prayer Book of 1549^5 and 
(2) the compromise established with regard to the Sacrament. The First 
Prayer Book had affirmed the doctrine of the Real Presence, in the words 
'The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee, preserve thy 
body and soul unto everlasting life.' The Second Prayer Book had denied 
it, substituting a phrase which implied the Zwinglian doctrine of a com- 
munion of simple remembrance — 'Take and eat this in remembrance that 
Christ died for thee, and feed on Him in thy heart by faith with thanks- 
giving.' The Prayer Book of Elizabeth combined both clauses in the form 
in which they stand to-day. (3) It should also be noticed that the Act requires 
attendance at the parish church on Sundays and Holy Days under pain of a 
fine — a. new policy which was to find further development later on. 

Although the process of general conversion to the new order was slow, 
the form of service appointed by the Act was accepted by the great body of 
the EftgHsh clergy^- 

j4h Act for the Uniformity of Common Prayer and Divine Service 
in the Churchy and the Administration of the Sacraments 

Where at the death of our late Sovereign Lord King Edward 
the Sixth there remained one uniform order of common service 
and prayeir and of the administration of sacraments, rites, and 
ceremonies in the Church of England, which was set forth 
in one book entitled The Book of Common Prayer and Adminis- 
tration of Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies in the 
Church of England^ authorised by Act of Parliament holden 

1 For a discussion of the Ornaments Rubric see W. H. Frere, Principles of 
Rsligiotts Ceremonial, ch. ziv. The question is also treated from the opposite point of 
view in Gwatkin, CAurch and State in England, pp. 232-6. The Elizabethan Prayer 
Book has been printed with an historical introduction by Dr Benham (Edinburgh: 
John Grant, 1909). 

* It is commonly said, on the authority of Camden, that out of 9400 clergy in 
England only 187 refused to conform (E. Benham, The Prayer Book of Queen 
Elizabeth, p. ix). These figures have, however, been criticised. Camden speaks of 
9400 'ecclesiastical preferments' and not ,of 'clergy,' and it is suggested, that the 
number of parishes in England and Wales was at this time only 8911 (H. N. Birt, 
The Elizabethan Religious Settlement, pp. 124, 161). Owing partly to the difficulty 
of finding clergy for the vacant cures, some of them were pluralists, holding more 
than one benefice by special dispensation (p. 414). Returns of 1560-3 shew a great 
lack -of clergy and many vacant livings and ruinous churches (Stephens and Hunt, 
V. 104). But these deductions, even if justified, do not substantially affect the state- 
ment in the text. 

* The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, 1552. 


in the fifth and sixth years of our said late Sovereign Lord King 
Edward the Sixth, entitled An Act for the Uniformity of Common 
Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments^; the which was 
repealed and taken away by Act of Parliament in the first year of 
the reign of our late Sovereign Lady Queen Mary^, to the great 
decay of the due honour of God and discomfort to the professors 
of the truth of Christ's Religion : Be it therefore enacted by the 
authority of this present Parliament, That the said Statute of 
Repeal and everything therein contained only concerning the said 
book and the service, administration of sacraments, rites, and 
ceremonies contained or appointed in or by the said book shall 
be void and of none effect from and after the Feast of the Nativity 
of St John Baptist next coming; and that the said book with the 
order of service and of the administration of sacraments, rites, 
and ceremonies, with the alteration and additions therein added 
and appointed by this Statute shall stand and be from and after 
the said Feast ... in full force and effect according to the tenor 
and effect of this Statute; Anything in the aforesaid Statute of 
Repeal to the contrary notwithstanding. 

n. And further be it enacted by the Queen's Highness, with 
the assent of the Lords^ and Commons in this present Parliament 
assembled and by authority of the same. That all and singular 
ministers in any cathedral or parish church or other place within 
this realm of England, Wales, and the marches of the same, or 
other the Queen's dominions, shall, from and after the Feast of 
the Nativity of St John Baptist next coming, be bounden to say 
and use the matins, evensong, celebration of the Lord's Supper 
and administration of each of the sacraments, and all their com- 
mon and open prayer, in such order and form as is mentioned in 
the said book so authorised by Parliament in the said fifth and 
sixth year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth, with one altera- 
tion or addition of certain lessons to be used on every Sunday in 
the year, and the form of the Litany altered and corrected, and 
two sentences only added in the delivery of the sacrament to the 
communicants*, and none other or otherwise: And that if any 
manner of parson, vicar, or other whatsoever minister that ought 
or should sing or say common prayer mentioned in the said 
book, or minister the sacraments, from and after the Feast of the 
Nativity of St John Baptist next coming, refuse to use the said 

1 The Second Act of Uniformity, 1552. ^ Mary's First Statute of Repeal. 

8 On the narrowness of the majority by which the Bill escaped rejection in the 
House of Lords see Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 208. 
* For these alterations see p. 136 above. 


common prayers or to minister the sacraments in such cathedral 
or parish church or other places as he should use to minister the! 
same, in such order and form as they be mentioned and set forth 
in the said book, or shall wilfully or obstinately (standing in the 
same) use any other rite, ceremony, order, form, or manner of 
celebrating of the Lord's Supper openly or privily, or matins, 
evensong, administration of the sacraments, or other open prayers 
than is mentioned and set forth in the said book (open prayer in 
and throughout this Act is meant that prayer which is for other 
to come unto or hear, either in common churches or private 
chapels or oratories, commonly called the Service of the Church) 
or shall preach, declare, or speak anything in the derogation or 
depraving of the said book or anything therein contained, or of 
any part thereof, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted according 
to the laws of this realm by verdict of twelve men, or by his own 
confession, or by the notorious evidence of the fact [ke shall suffer 
penalties as follows: First offence^ forfeiture of one yearns profit of his 
'spiritual benefices or promotions^ and six months^ imprisonment; 
Second offence, one yearns imprisonment and deprivation; Third offence, 
deprivation and imprisonment for life. If not beneficed, for the first 
offence, one year's imprisonment, and for the second, imprisonment for 

III. And it is ordained and enacted by the authority above- 
said. That if any person or persons whatsoever after the said 
Feast. . . shall in any interludes, plays, songs, rhymes, or by other 
open words, declare or speak anything in the derogation, de- 
praving, or despising of the same book, or of anything therein 
contained, or any part thereof, or shall by open fact, deed, or by 
open threatenings, compel or cause or otherwise procure or main- 
tain any parson, vicar, or other minister in any cathedral or parish 
church or in chapel or in any other place to sing or say any com- 
mon or open prayer or to minister any sacrament otherwise or in 
any other manner and form than is mentioned in the said book, 
or that by any of the said means shall unlawfully interrupt or let 
any parson, vicar, or other minister in any cathedral or parish 
church, chapel, or any other place to sing or say common and 
open prayer, or to minister the sacraments or any of them, in 
such manner and form as is mentioned in the said book, that then 
every such person being thereof lawfully convicted in form above- 
said [sjiallbe sibject to penalties as follows: First offence, 100 marks; 
Second offence, 400 marks; Third offence, forfeiture of goods and im- 
prnonmentfor life; on non-payment of fines for the first and second 
imprisonment for six and twelve months respectively]: And 


that from and after the said Feast. . .all and every person and 
persons inhabiting within this realm or any other the Queen's 
Majesty's dominions, shall diligently and faithfully, having no 
lawful or reasonable excuse to be absent, endeavour themselves 
to resort to their parish church or chapel accustomed, or upon 
reasonable let-'^ thereof, to some usual place where common 
prayer and such service of God shall be used in such time of let, 
upon every Sunday and other days ordained and used to be kept 
as Holy Days, and then and there to abide orderly and soberly 
during the time of the common prayer, preachings, or other 
service of God there to be used and ministered; upon pain of 
punishment by the censures of the Church, and also upon pain 
that every person so offending shall forfeit for every such offence 
twelve pence, to be levied by the churchwardens of the parish 
where such offence shall be done, to the use of the poor of the 
same parish, of the goods, lands, and tenements of such offender 
by way of distress®. 

XIII. Provided always and be it enacted. That such orna- 
ments of the church and of the ministers thereof shall be retained 
and be in use as was in the Church of England by authority of 
Parliament in the second year of the reign of King Edward the 
Sixth until other order shall be therein taken by the authority of 
the Queen's Majesty, with the advice of her commissioners ap- 
pointed and authorised under the great seal of England for 
causes ecclesiastical or of the metropolitan of this realm ; And 
also that if there shall happen any contempt or irreverence to be 
used in the ceremonies or rites of the Church by the misusing of 
the orders appointed in this book, the Queen's Majesty may, by 
the like advice of the said commissioners or metropolitan, ordain 
and publish such further ceremonies or rites as may be most for 
the advancement of God's glory, the edifying of his Church, 
and the due reverence of Christ's holy mysteries and sacraments, 

XIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. 
That all laws, statutes, and ordinances wherein or whereby any 
other service, administration of sacraments, or common prayer is 
limited, established, or set forth to be used within this realm or 
any other the Queen's dominions or countries, shall from hence- 
forth be utterly void and of none effect. 

I Eliz. c. 2: Statutes of the Realm, vy, 355. 

^ Hindrance. 

2 There is reason for thinking that fines for non-attendance at church were 
regularly enforced throughout the reign {E.H.R. xxxiii, 528). 


§2. The Injunctions of i55'9 
The Act of Uniformity came into force on June 24, and the Injunctions^ 
which had been already prepared, were issued immediately afterwards. In 
some respects they follow closely the Injunctions of 1547; but there are 
alterations and many important additions. Among these the following occur: 
(i) The marriage of priests, although lawful, was discouraged by in- 
junction, in view of the 'lack of discreet and sober behaviour in many 
ministers of the Church, both in choosing of their wives and indiscreet living 
with them.' To remedy this it was provided 'that no manner of priest or 
deacon shall hereafter take to his wife any manner of woman without the 
advice and allowance first had upon good examination by the bishop of the 
same diocese and two justices of the peace of the same shire.' The marriages 
of bishops were to be 'allowed and approved' by the metropolitan of the pro- 
vince and also by 'such commissioners as the Queen's Majesty thereunto shall 
appoint.' Masters of Colleges wishing to marry were to apply to the Visitor 
of the College, 'who shall in any wise provide that the same tend not to the 
hindrance of tfieir House.' This curious provision was in actual operation 
at least until the middle of the reign. (2) The dress of the clergy was regu- 
lated by an injunction requiring 'such seemly habits, garments, and such 
square caps as were most commonly and orderly received in the latter year 
of the reign of King Edward VI.' (3) ' In time of the Litany and all other 
collects and common supplications to Almighty God' the congregatiqiti. was 
required to kneel; and 'whensoever the name of Jesus shall be in any lesson, 
sermon, or otherwise in the church pronounced,' 'due reverence' is to be 
made 'of all persons young and old, with lowliness of courtesy, and uncover- 
ing of heads of the menkind, as thereunto doth necessarily belong and 
heretofore hath been accustomed.' (4) In an appendix to the Injunctions, 
under the title 'An admonition to simple mien deceived by malicious^' 
the oath of supremacy is explained as not intended to require 'any other 
duty, allegiance, or bond' than 'was acknowledged to be due to the most 
noble kings of famous memory. King Henry VIII, her Majesty's father, 
or King Edward VI, her Majesty's brother.' The Queen accordingly forbids 
•all manner her subjects to give ear or credit to such perverse and malicious 
persons which most sinisterly and maliciously labour to notify to her loving 
subjects how by the words of the said oath it may be collected that the kings 
or queens of this realm, possessors of the Crown, may challenge authority 
and power of ministry of divine offices in the Church.. , .For certainly her 
Majesty neither doth nor ever will challenge any other authority than that 
was challenged and latelyused by the said noble kings of famous memory,King 
Henry VIII and King Edward VI, which is and was of ancient time due 
to the imperial Crown of this realm ; that is, under God to have the sovereignty 
and rule over all manner persons born within these her realms, dominions, 
and countries, of what estate, either ecclesiastical or temporal, soever they be, 
so as no other foreign power shall or ought to have any superiority over 
them.' (5) Another appendix to the Injunctions, entitled 'For tables in the 
church,' treats in a spirit of compromise the difficult controversy concerning 

1 These are printed in Cai^dwell, i, 178; also in Gee and Hardy, p. 417, where 
they are compared with the Edwardian Injunctions. 


the altar. It provides 'that the holy table in every church be decently made, 
and set in the place where the altar stood, and there commonly covered . . . 
and so to stand, saving when the communion of the Sacrament is to be dis- 
tributed; at which time the same shall be so placed in good sort within the 
chancel as whereby the minister may be more conveniently heard of the 
communicants in his prayer and ministration. . . . And after die communion 
done, from time to time the same holy table to be placed where it stood 

The most important part of the Supremacy as claimed by Elizabeth was 
the right of visitation, and the Injunctions were drawn up for use in the 
course of a royal visitation which lasted from June to October, 1 559. The 
Visitors were also instructed to administer the oath of supremacy required 
by the Act of Supremacy and to enforce the use of the Prayer Book under 
the Act of Uniformity. On the completion of their work the permanent 
ecclesiastical commission contemplated by the Supremacy Act was called 
into existence by letters patent dated 19 July, 1559. 

§ 3. The Penal Laws against the Catholics 

It has often been pointed out that the Church of the Elizabethan Settle- 
ment was an island-church. The English Prayer Book was drawn from 
ancient sources, and the whole tone of its devotion was widely different from 
that of the reformed continental worship. Episcopal succession also main- 
tained an 'organic relation with catholic antiquity'^ about which the con- 
tinental Churches cared little. On the other hand, the Church of England 
was separated by a great gulf from the Church of Rome, for England re- 
jected the Papal Supremacy and was declared by the Papacy itself to be in 
schism. Thus 'she was not Catholic, as countries which accepted the decrees 
of the Council of Trent understood Catholicism; still less was she Protestant, 
as Calvin and William the Silent understood Protestantism.'^ But on the 
whole the compromise was in the long run successful. It is true that in spite 
of iconoclastic riots the new order did not at first command the undivided 
allegiance of the people. Returns of 1 564 relating to the attitude of the 
justices of the peace towards the proceedings of the government in matters 
of religion shew 431 described as favourable, 264 indifferent, neuter, or not 
favourable, and 157 'hinderers or adversaries. '^ The dioceses in the north 
and west were the most hostile, and the towns more hostile than the coun- 
tira*. A list of the principal gentlemen of Yorkshire sent to Lord Burghley 
in 1572 gave 43 as Protestants, 19 of the 'worst sort,' 22 as 'mean or less 
evil,' and 39 as 'doubtful,' with the significant addition at the end of the list, 
'many more evil and doubtful.'^ Even as late as 1578 the Council com- 
jplained that 'sundry persons being in commission of the peace within divers 
counties have of late years forborne to come to the church to any common 
prayer and divine service; whereby not only is God dishonoured and the 
laws infringed, but very evil example given to the common sort of people.' * 
But under the steady pressure of die Act of Uniformity the great majority 

1 Moore, p. 229, ^ Wakeman, p. 12. 

3 Miss M. Bateson, Preface to Camden Miscellany, vol. ix. (1895), p. iii. 

4 Birt, p. 339. ^ lb. p. 327- * lb. p. 522. 


gradually conformed, and the younger generation was brought up in a differ- 
ent tradition. 

It is, however, doubtful whether the Elizabethan compromise would 
have been so successful, had not the events which followed connected the 
reformed Church very closely with the idea of national independence. The 
Bull of Excommunication in 1570, the Jesuit Invasion in 1580, and the 
Spanish Armada in 1588 identified die Papacy with a dangerous attack upon 
the national life, and the Church of England now appeared, not only as a 
bulwark against Rome, but also as part of England's defences against Spain. 
There were political reasons why patriotic Englishmen should hate the 
Pope, and from this it was only a short step to hatred of the whole religious 
system which the Pope represented. Men who were in violent hostility to 
Rome on political grounds soon found themselves in opposition to the 
worship and practices of the Roman Church on religious grounds; and thus 
religion and politics combined to strengthen the position of the Elizabethan 

It was also the case that in the sphere of thought the Church of England 
found able defenders, and their effective statement of the case against Rome 
was bound in time to influence the younger generation. The Anglican 
position was developed with moderation and reasonableness as well as with 
sound learning, and the work of the Elizabethan divines did much to trans- 
form what was at first a reluctant conformity to the Church of England 
into loyal and filial devotion. 

Althoiigh the Church of the Elizabethan Settlement thus came by 
degrees to include the majority of Englishmen, it never succeeded in in- 
cluding all; and it was liable to attack from two sides at once. On the 
one hand, in spite of the Queen's concessions to the English Catholics, her 
quarrel with the Papacy exposed her to onslaughts from Rome; on the other 
hand, by her attempt to include the English Catholics she herself created 
Puritanism. Thus she had to deal not only with 'sedition, privy conspiracy, 
and rebellion,' but also with 'false doctrine, heresy, and schism.' 

The Church of the Elizabethan Settlement was not intended to be a 
persecuting Church. The English Catholics themselves at first thought of 
the Queen as open to conviction, and as late as 1565 Richard Shacklock, who 
had fled from Cambridge to Louvain, was inviting her to 'come out of the 
cockering boat of schismatical noisomeness into the stedfast ark of Noah.'^ 
It is true that an Act of 15632 ' for the assurance of the Queen's royal power' 
recognised the 'perils, dishonours, and inconveniences' that have resulted 
from the usurped power of the see of Rome, and * the dangers by the fautors of 
the said usurped power, at this time grown to marvellous outrage and licen- 
tious boldness, and now requiring more sharp restraint and correction of laws 
than hitherto in the time of the Queen's Majesty's most mild and merciful 
reign have been had, used, or established,' and provided (i ) that all who main- 
tained the authority of the Pope within the realm should incur the penalties 
oi praemunire, and (2) that the oath of supremacy should be tendered under 
penalties to all members of the House of Commons; to persons admitted 
into Holy Orders or to any University degree; to all schoolmasters and 
teachers; and to all barristers, attorneys, officers of the Inns of Court, and 

^ Stephens and Hunt, v. 82. 2 j gij^, c. i. 


other persons engaged in the execution of the law. But for the first ten years 
of the reign there was no systematic or active persecution of the Catholics^- 
New factors were, however, being introduced info the problem of the rela- 
tions between the Queen and her Roman Catholic subjects. These begin in 
1564 with the Council of Trent and the regeneration of the Papacy. 'The 
regenerated Catholic Church is for a while the mistress of the world, as in 
the time of the Crusades. It is felt that the Council of Trent ought to be 
followed by the suppression of heresy everywhere, as of a thing no longer 
excusable.'^ A principal European question comes to be the suppression of 
heresy in France and the Low Countries, to be followed later on by its sup- 
pression in England and Scotland. In 1 568 the arrival of Mary Queen of 
Scots in England profoundly affected the attitude of the leadmg English 
Catholics towards the government Her title appeared to them a better one 
than that of Elizabeth, who only represented Anne Boleyn, and might be 
regarded as a kind of Lady Jane Grey who had temporarily seized the 
throne^. Mary was able to negotiate from her prison at Tutbury with the 
great Catholic houses of the north, and out of these negotiations grew the 
dangerous Northern Insurrection of 1569, which, though partly feudal, 
turned mainly on matters of religion*. Last of all came the Papal Bull of 
1570, which John Felton nailed to the door of the Bishop of London's 
palace in St Paul's Churchyard. 

(i) The Bull of Excommunication, 1570 

The Papal Bull of 1 570 'rendered treason a necessary part of the religious 
duties of every English Romanist.'^ It was no longer possible for anyone 
to be at the same time a Roman Catholic and a patriot, for loyalty to the 
Papacy was now brought into conflict with loyalty to the Queen. ' Do you 
renounce the Pope?' said Sir Francis Knollys to Campion at his execution. 
'I am a Catholic,' he replied; whereupon a bystander cried out, 'In your 
Catholicism all treason is contained.'® This view came to be widely and 
not unnaturally held; and the Papal Bull enabled the government to justify 
further penal legislation'. 

^ ' Until the tenth of her reign her times were calm and serene, though sometimes 
a little overcast, as the most glorious sunrisings are subject to shadowings and drop- 
pings-in; for the clouds of Spain and the vapours of the Holy League began then to 
disperse and threaten her serenity' (Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia, p. 31). 

2 Seeley, i, 81. * Ii.'Ui9- 

* Sir Ralph Sadler at the time wrote of the North, 'there be not ten gentlemen 
in all this country that do favour and allow of her Majesty's proceedings in the 
cause of religion,' and described the common people as 'ignorant, superstitious, and 
altogether blinded with the old Popish doctrine' (Birt, p. 489). 

B Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 377. 

* Froude, Elizabeth, c. xxviii (vol. iv, p. 312). 

' 'Indeed hitherto the English Papists slept in a whole skin; and so might have 
continued, had they not wilfully torn it themselves. For the late rebellion in the 
North, and the Pope thundering out his excommunication against the Queen, with 
many scandalous and pernicious pamphlets daily dispersed, made her Majesty about 
this time first to frown on Papists, then to chide, then to strike them with penalties, 
and last to draw life-blood from them by the severity of her laws' (Fuller, ii, 497)., 


Regnans in Excelsis^ 

Pius Bishop, servant to God's servants, for a future memorial 
of the matter. 

jfie that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power in 
Heaven and in Earth, hath c6mmitted his One, Holy, Catholic, 
and Apostolic Church, out of which there is no salvation, to one 
alone upon earth, namely to Peter the chief of the Apostles, and 
to Peter's successor the Bishop of Rome, to be by him governed 
with plenary authority. Him alone hath he made prince over all 
people and all kingdoms, to pluck up, destroy, scatter, consume, 
plant, and build; that he may preserve his faithful people (knit 
together with the band of charity) in the unity of the Spirit, and 
present them spotless and unblameable to their Saviour. In dis- 
charge of which function. We, who are by God's goodness called 
to the government of the aforesaid Church, do spare no pains, 
labouring with all earnestness that unity and the Catholic Religion 
(which the Author thereof hath, for the trial of his children's 
faith and for our amendment, suffered to be tossed with so great 
afflictions) might be preserved sincere. But the number of the 
ungodly hath gotten such power thait there is now no place in the 
whole world left which they have not essayed to corrupt with their 
most wicked doctrines; and amongst others, Elizabeth, the pre- 
tended Queen of England, the servant of wickedness, lendeth 
thereunto her helping hand, with whom, as in a sanctuary, the 
most pernicious persons have found a refuge. This very woman, 
having seized on the kingdom and monstrously usurped the 
place of Supreme Head of the Church in all England and the 
chief authority and jurisdiction thereof, hath again reduced the 
said kingdom into a miserable and ruinous condition, which was 
so lately reclaimed to the Catholic faith and a thriving conditionj 

For having by strong hand prohibited the exercise of the true 
religion which Mary, the lawful Queen of famous memory had 
by the help of this See restored, after it had been formerly over- 
thrown by Henry the Eighth a revolter therefrom, and following 
and embracing the errors of heretics, she hath changed the royal 
Council consisting of the English nobility and filled it up with 
obscure men being heretics; suppressed the embracers of the 
Catholic faith; constituted lewd preachers and ministers of im- 
piety; abolished the sacrifice of the mass, prayers, fastings, choice 

1 Translation printed in Camden, Elizabeth, p. 146. The original Latin Bull 
is in Bullarium Romamm, ii, 324; and the greater part of it will be found in Prothero, 
p. 195. 


of meats, unmarried life, and the Catholic rites and ceremonies; 
commanded books to be read through the whole realm containing 
manifest heresy, and appointed impious rites and institutions, by 
herself entertained and observed according to the prescript of 
Calvin, to be likewise observed by her subjects; presumed to eject 
bishops, parsons of churches, and other Catholic priests, out of 
their churches and benefices, and to bestow them and other 
church livings upon heretics, and to determine church causes; 
prohibited the prelates, clergy, and people to acknowledge the 
Church of Rome or obey the precepts and canonical sanctions 
thereof; compelled most of them to condescend to her wicked 
laws, and to abjure the authority and obedience of the Bishop of 
Rome, and to acknowledge her to be sole Lady in temporal and 
spiritual matters, and this by oath; imposed penalties and punish- 
ments upon those which obeyed not, and exacted them of those 
which persevered in the unity of the faith and their obedience 
aforesaid; cast the Catholic prelates and rectors of churches into 
prison, where many of them, being worn out with long languish- 
ing and sorrow, miserably ended their lives. All which things 
being so manifest and notorious to all nations, and by the serious 
testimony of so very many so substantially proved that there is 
no place at all left for excuse, defence, or evasion : We seeing that 
impieties and wicked actions are multiplied one upon another, as 
also that the persecution of the faithful and affliction for religion 
groweth every day heavier and heavier, through the instigation 
and by means of the said Elizabeth, and since We understand her 
heart tb be so hardened and obdurate that she hath not only con- 
temned the godly requests and admonitions of Catholic Princes 
concerning her cure and conversion but also hath not so much 
as suffered the Nuncios of this See to cross the seas for this pur- 
pose into England, are constrained of necessity to betake our- 
selves to the weapons of justice against her, being heartily 
grieved and sorry that we are compelled thus to punish one to 
whose ancestors the whole state of Christendom hath been so 
much beholden. Being therefore supported with His authority 
whose pleasure it was to place Us (though unable for so great a 
burden) in this Supreme Throne of Justice, We do out of the 
fulness of our Apostolic power declare the aforesaid Elizabeth 
as being an heretic and a favourer of heretics, and her adherents 
in the matters aforesaid, to have incurred the sentence of excom- 
munication, and to be cut off from the unity of the Body of Christ. 
And moreover We do declare her to be deprived of her pretended 
title to the kingdom aforesaid, and of all dominion, dignity, and 


privilege whatsoever; and also the nobility, siibjects, and peoplte; 
of the said kingdom, and all others who have in any sort sworn 
unto her, to be for ever absolved from any such oath, and all 
manner of duty of dominion, allegiance, and obedience: and We 
alsoi do! by authority of these presents absolve them, and da 
deprive the said Elizabeth of her pretended title to the kingdom, 
and all other things before named. And We do command and 
charge all' and every the noblemen,, subjects,i people, and others 
aforesaid that they presume not to obey her or her orders, man- 
dates, and laws; and those which, shall; do the contrary We do in- 
clude them in the like sentence of anathema. . . . 

Camden, Elizabeth (4th edition, 1688), p. 146. 

(2) Act agains1t3uJJaJfcmia Rome, 1571 
The Act of 1571 was the rejoinder of M.RaY-PjningnUQlEBju U pf 

ExcommmucaiiuaftiPilNot omythis, out the Act or Unirormity also. 
Strictly enforced, and somemmg^Ttire nauSreof a crusaae against the re- 
cusSlttS^egah!' ISMme first act of aggression came from the Papacy; and 
behind the Papal Bull theOueen saw a league of foreign powers against her. 
h hus the attitude of HIP government towaroSn3je^imisnA^athoui3 was 
changed, andjme^glig^ of, the first! ten years or the reign reyereed: Men were 
beginitff^lto l^r, aTBisliop''Chaiotfer^Ut'rt,'*i^ the^Rlbiiianrshould come, 
and take away both, their place and nation.' 

An Act against the bringing in and putting in execution of Bulls 
and other Instruments from the See of Rome 

Where in the Parliament holden at Westminster in the fifth. 
ye:ar of the, reign of our Sovereign Lady the Queen's Majesty 
that now is, by one act and statute then and there made, entitled 
An Act for the Assurance of the Queen's Majesty's Royal Power 
over all States and Subjects within, her Highness's Dominions^, 
it is among other things very well ordained and provided, for the 
abolishing of the usurped power and jurisdiction, of the Bishop, 
of Rome and of the See of Rome heretofore unlawfully claimed 
and usurped within this realm and other the dominions to the 
Queen's Majpsty belonging, that no person or persons shall hold 
or stand with to set forth,, maintain,, defend, or extol the same 
usurped power, or attribute any manner jurisdiction, authority, 
or preeminence to the same, to be had or used within this realm 
or any the said dominions, upon pain to incur the danger, penalties, 
and forfeitures ordained and provided: by the Statute of Provision 
and Praemunire made in the sixteenth year of the reign of King 
Richard the Second, as by the same Act more at large it doth and 

1 5 EliZi c. I (1563): see p. 142 above. 


may appear; (And yet nevertheless divers seditious and very evil' 
disposed people, without respect of their duty to Almighty God 
or of the faith and allegiance which they ought to bear and have 
to our said Sovereign Lady the Queen, and without all fear or 
regard had to the said good law and statute or the pains therein 
limited; but niinding as it should seem, very seditiously and un- 
naturally, not only to bring this realm and the imperial- Crown 
thereof (being in very deed of itself most free) into the thraldom 
and subjection of that foreign, usurped, and unlawful jurisdiction, 
preeminence, and authority claimed by the said See of Rome, 
but also to estrange and alienate the minds and hearts of sundry 
her Majesty's subjects from their dutiful obedience, and to- raise 
and stir sedition and rebellion within this realm, to the disturb- 
ance of the most happy peace thereof, have lately procured and 
obtained to themselves from the said Bishop of Rome and his said 
See divers bulls and writings, the effect whereof hath been and 
is to absolve and reconeilfe all those that will be contented to for- 
sake their due obedience to our most gracious Sovereign Lady the 
Queen's Majesty, and to yield and subject themselves to the said 
feigned, unlawful, and usurped authority, and by colour of the 
said bulls and writings the said wicked persons very secretly and' 
most seditiously in such parts of this realm where the people for 
want of good instruction are most weak, simple, and' ignorant, 
and thereby farthest from the good understanding of their duties 
towards God and the Queen's Majesty, have by their lewd and 
subtle practices and persuasions so far forth wrought that sundry 
simple and ignorant persons have been contented to be reconciled 
to the said usurped authority of the See of Rome and to take 
absolution at the hands of the said naughty and subtle practisers, 
whereby hath grown great disobedience and boldness in many, 
not only to withdraw and absent themselves from all Divine 
Service now most godly set forth and used within this realm, but 
also have thought themselves discharged- of and from all obedi- 
ence, duty, and allegiance to her Majesty, whereby most wicked 
and unnatural rebellion hath ensued, and to the ftirther danger of 
this realm is hereafter very like to be renewed if the ungodly and 
wicked attempts in that behalf be not by severity of laws in time 
restrained and bridled'l For remedy and redress whereof, and to 
prevent the gjteat mischiefs and inconveniences that thereby may 
ensue^Be it enacted. . .That if any person or persons after the first 
day of July next coming shall use or put in ure^ in any place 
within this realm or in any the Queen's dominions any such bull, 

1 See note on p. 23 above. 


writing, or instrument written or printed, of absolution or recon- 
ciliation at any time heretofore obtained and gotten, or at any 
time hereafter to be obtained and gotten, from the said Bishop of 
Rome or any his successors, or from any other person or per- 
sons authorised or claiming authority by or from the said Bishop 
of Rome, his predecessors or successors, or See of Rome; Or if 
any person or persons after the said first day of July shall take 
upon him or them by colour of any such bull, writing, instrument, 
or authority to absolve or reconcile any person or persons, or to 
grant or promise to any person or persons within this realm or 
any other the Queen's Majesty's dominions any such absolution 
or reconciliation by any speech, preaching, teaching, writing, or 
any other open deed; Or if any person or persons within this 
realm or any the Queen's dominions after the said first day of 
July shall willingly receive and take any such absolution or re- 
conciliation; Or else if any person or persons have obtained or 
gotten since the last day of the Parliament holden in the first 
year of the Queen's Majesty's reign, or after the said first day of 
July shall obtain or get from the said Bishop of Rome or any his 
successors or See of Rome any manner of bull, writing, or instru- 
ment written or printed, containing any thing, matter, or cause 
whatsoever; Or shall publish or by any ways or means put in ure 
any such bull, writing, or instrument. That then all and every 
such act and acts, offence and offences, shall be deemed and ad- 
judged by the authority of this Act to be high treason, and the 
offender and offenders therein, their procurers, abettors, and 
counsellors to the fact and committing of the said offence or 
offences, shall be deemed and adjudged high traitors to the Queen 
a.nd the realm; and being thereof lawfully indicted and attainted, 
according to the course of the laws of this realm, shall suffer 
pains of death, and also lose and forfeit all their lands, tenements, 
hereditaments, goods, and chattels, as in cases of high treason by 
the laws of this realm ought to be lost and forfeited. 

[H. 'Aiders, comforters, or maintainers' after the fact are to be subject 
to the penalties of praemunire.'] 

III. Provided always and be it further enacted by the author- 
ity aforesaid, That if any person or persons to whom any such 
absolution, reconciliation, bull, writing, or instrument as is aforer 
said shall after the said first day of July be offered, moved, or 
persuaded to be used, put in ure, or executed, shall conceal the 
same offer, motion, or persuasion, and not disclose and signify 
the same by writing or otherwise within six weeks then next 
following to some of the Queen's Majesty's Privy Council or 


else to the President or Vice-President of the Queen's Majesty's 
Council established in the North Parts^ or in the Marches of 
Wales^ for the time being, That then the same person or 
persons so concealing and not disclosing or not signifying the 
said offer, motion, or persuasion, shall incur the loss, danger, 
penalty, and forfeiture of misprision of high treason ^i And 
that no person or persons shall at any time hereafter be im- 
peached, molested, or troubled in or for misprision of treason for 
any offence or offences made treason by this Act other than such 
as by this Act are before declared to be in case of misprision of 
high treason. 

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
That if any person or persons shall at any time after the said first 
day of July bring into this realm of England or any the dominions 
of the same any token or tokens, thing or things, called by the 
name oi^in Agnus Dei, or any crosses, pictures, beads, or suchlike 
vain and superstitious things from the Bishop or See of Rome, or 
from any person or persons authorised or claiming authority by 
or from the said Bishop or See of Rome to consecrate or hallow 
the same, which said Agnus Dei is used to be specially hallowed 
and consecrated, as it is termed, by the said Bishop in his own 
person, and the said crosses, pictures, beads, and suchlike super- 
stitious things be also hallowed ieither by the said Bishop or by 
others having ppwer pr pretending to have power for the same, 
by or from him or his said See, and divers pardons, immunities, 
and exemptions granted by the authority of the said See to such 
as shall receive and use the same, and that if the same person or 
persons so bringing in as is aforesaid such Agnus Dei and other 
like things as be before specified shall deliver or offer or cause to 
be delivered the same or any of them to any sijbject of this realm 
or any of the dominions of the same to be worn or used in any 
wise, that then as well the same person and persons so doing, as 
also all and every other person or persons which shall receive and 
take the same to the intent to use or wear the same, being thereof 
lawfully convicted and attainted by the order of the common laws 
of this realm, shall incur into the dangers, penalties, pains, and 
forfeitures ordained and provided by the Statute of Praemunire 

1 On the Council of the North, see p. 314. 

* On the Council of Wales, see p. 331. 

' Originally an offence akin to treason, but involving a lesser degree of guilt and 
not liable to the penalty of death. As concealment of a knowledge of treasonable 
actions was made misprision of treason by statute, this came to be a common inter- 
pretation of the term. 


and J^rovision made in the sixteenth year of the reign of King 
iRichard the Second. 

13 Eliz. c. 2: Statutes of the Realm, ,iv, 528. 

(3) Act against Reconciliation to Rome, 15S1 

Tiie Act of 1 57 1 governed for ten years the relations between theQueen 
and the English Catholics, but in 1581 there is fresh penal legislation; for 
the seminary priests 'depraved and soured with a new leaven of malignity 
the whole lump of Catholics, which had before been more sweet and harm- 
less.'i The movement which had led to the invasion of the seminary priests 
had been originated by William Allen, one of the ablest and most courageous 
^fthe EngUsh Catholics. In 1568 he opened a seminary in the University 
town of Douay, with a view to educating a hocty of learned priests who 
should be ready to assist in the restoration of Catholicism in England when- 
ever circumstances should permit, fearing, as he himself said some years 
afterwards, 'that if the schism should lastjmuch longer, owing to the death 
of the few who at its beginning had been cast out of the English Universities 
for the faith, no seed would be left hereafter for the restoration of religion, 
and that heresy would thus obtain a perpetual and peaceful possession of the 
reailm.'^ As an afterthought there grew out of this scheme a plan for imme- 
diate and active missionary work under existing conditions, and in 1574 
priests from Oouay began to land in England. In 1578 the college was 
moved from Douay ,to Rheims, where it was placed under the patronage of 
the Guises and received an annual allowance from Philip of Spain. In 1579 
the Pope founded another college at Rome. Thus the Seminarist movement 
was in a manner a symbol of the union of the Catholic powers against the 
English Reformation. 

The -estaMishment of English colleges beyond the seas struck a deadly 
blow at the Elizabethan Church Settlement. The Bull of Excommunication 
hadichecked conformity; the seminary priests succeeded for a time in stopping 
.conformity altogether. Under their influence the Catholic femihes ceased to 
bow themselves in the house of Rimmon, and a marked revival of active 
Catholicism took place in England. And in 1579 the seminarists were rein- 
forced from a new quarter. Allen succeeded in inducing the order of Jesuits 
to take part in the English Mission, and in 1580 the first two Jesuit priests, 
Edmund Campion and Robert Parsons, landed at an Enghsh port. 

This invasion of learned priests was the more dangerous because erf the 
low level of learning among the English clergy. The deprivations had made 

1 'Bacon, vi, 315. 

" D.N.B. i, 316. Cf. Fuller, 'The old store of Papists in England began now 
very much to diminish and decay; insomuch that the Romanists perceived they 
could not spend at this rate out of the main stock, but it would quickly make them 
bankrupt. Prisons consumed many, age more of their priests; and they had no place 
in England whence to recruit themselves. The largest cistern with long drawing 
will grow dry, if wanting a fountain to feed the daily decay thereof. Hereupon th^ 
lesolyed to erect colleges beyond the seas for English youth to have their education 
therein' (ii, 485). 


it necessary to admit a large number of men to holy orders, and the Univer- 
sities could not cope with the demand. Thus many dd&r men 'being grave 
and sober persons, though no scholafs, but perhaps tradesmen before, were 
thought convenient to be admitted into orders to supply the present necessity 
of the Church.'i Carcwright "Charges Archbishop Whitgift with the fact 
that 'there be admitted into the ministry of the basest sort,. . .such as are 
suddenly changed out of a serving-man's coat into a minister's cloak, making 
for the most part the ministry their last refuge.' These men were no match 
for the trained dialecticians of the seminary, and they were often inefficient 
defenders of the Church which they represented. 

It was also the case that some of the seminarists were dangerous to the 
state^. The failure of the Northern Insurrection had shewn that the enemies 
of Elizabeth had litde to hope from rebellion, and they were thrown back 
upon assassination. The first conspiracy was hatched in 1571, and from 
that time onward siege was laid to the Queen's life. A writer of the time 
makes die Pope's allies say to each other, 'Come, let us kill her, and the 
inheritance shall be ours.' In the schemes against the Queen's life only some 
of the seminarists were involved, and several of them were not even pre- 
pared to allow the validity of her deposition by the Pope; but it was not 
easy either for the Privy Council or for public opinion to distinguish between 
the innocent and the guilty. It was assumed that all Roman Catholics were 
traitors until they proved their loyalty by explkidy denying the Pope's 
power to depose the Queen. It was not until the end of the reign that the 
idea of 'a distinction between priests politically safe and priests politically 
unsafe' could be entertained at all, and even as late as the rejgn of James I 
this distinction was again obscured by the discovery of Gunpowder Plot. 

The Act of 1 58 1 was mainly intended to make the work of the semi- 
narists in reconciling individuals and families to the Church of Rome as 
difficult and dangerous as possible, but at one point it bore heavily upon the 
English Catholics as a whole, for the shilling line for non-attendance at 
church imposed by the Act of Uniformity was now raised to {;io a month^. 

^ &tTyfe,Life of Grindal, :p. ^o. 

^ 'Now began priests and Jesuits to iock faster into England than ever before; 
having exchange of clothes, and names, and professions. He who on Sunday was a 
priest or Jesuit was on Monday a merchant, on Tuesday a soldier, on Wednesday a 
courtier, etc., and with the shears of equivocation (constantiy carried about him) he 
could cut himself into any shape he pleased. But under all their new shapes they 
retained their old nature; being akin in their turbulent spirits to the wind pent in 
the subterranean concavities, which will never be quiet until it hath vented itself 
with a state-quake of those countries wherein they abide. These distilled traitorous 
principles into aU people wheresoever they came, and endeavoured to render them 
disadected to her Majesty; maintaining that she neither had nor ought to haVe any 
dominion over her subjects whilst she persisted in a heretical distance from the 
Church of Rome' (Fuller, iii, 19). 

* 'Twenty pounds a month! a vast sum. . .enough to shatter the containment 
of a rich man's estkte. They commended the moderation of the former statute. . . 
that did smart, yet did not fetch blood; at the worst, did not break bones. Whereas 
now twenty pounds a month, paid severally by every recusant for himself and as 
much for his wife (which though one flesh in divinity yet are two persons in law) 
held so heavy as to cripple their estates' (Jb. iii, 20). 


There is evidence to shew that late in the reign these fines were being 
enforced^;, except in remoter parts of the country where feeling was strongly 
Roman Catholic and the local squire was omnipotent. 

An Act to retain the Queen's Majesty's Subjects in their due 


Where since the Statute made in the thirteenth year of the 
reign' of the Queen our Sovereign Lady, entitled An Act against 
the bringing in and putting in execution of Bulls, Writings, and 
Instruments, and other superstitious things from the See of 
Rome^, divers evil affected persons have practised^, contrary to 
the meaning of the said Statute, by other means than by bulls or 
instruments written or printed, to withdraw divers the Queen's 
Majesty's subjects from their natural obedience to her Majesty 
to obey the said usurped authority of Rome, and in respect of the 
same to persuade great numbers to withdraw their due obedience 
to her Majesty's laws established for the due service of Almighty 
God : For reformation whereof, and to declare the true meaning 
of the said law. Be it declared and enacted by the authority of 
this present Parliament, That all persons whatsoever which have, 
or shall have, or shall pretend to have power, or shall by any ways 
or means put in practice to absolve, persuade, or withdraw any of 
the Queen's Majesty's subjects , or any within her Highness's 
realms and dominions from their natural obedience to her Majesty, 
or to withdraw them for that intent from the religion now by her 
Highness's authority established within her Highness's domin- 
ions to the Romish religion, or to move them or any of them to 
promise any obedience to any pretended authority of the See of 
Rome, or of any other prince, state, or potentate, to be had or 
used within her dominions, or shall do any overt act to that intent 
or purpose, and every of them, shall be to all intents adjudged to be 
traitors, and being thereof lawfully convicted shall have judgment, 
suffei-, and forfeit as in case of high treason : And if any person 
shall, after the end of this session of Parliament, by any means 
be willingly absolved or withdrawn as aforesaid, or willingly be 
reconciled, or shall promise any obedience to any such pretended 
authority, prince, state, or potentate as is aforesaid, that then 
every such person, their procurers and counsellors thereunto, 
JDeing thereof lawfully convicted, shall be taken, tried, and 
judged, and shall suffer and forfeit as in cases of high treason. 

1 Gasquet, Hampshire Recusants, p. 27; but cf. West Riding Sessions Rolls, ed. 
Lister, pp. xx-x3dii, where it is suggested that they were often not levied in full. 

2 13 Eliz. c. 2 (1571). » Plotted or conspired. 


II. And be it likewise enacted and declared, That all and 
every person and persons that shall wittingly be aiders or main- 
tainers of such persons so offending as is above expressed, or of 
any of themi knowing the same, or which shall conceal any 
offence aforesaid and shall not, within twenty days at the furthest 
after such person's knowledge of such offence, disclose the same 
to some justice of peace or other higher officer, shall be taken, 
tried, and judged, and shall suffer and forfeit as offenders in mis- 
prision of treason. 

III. And be it likewise enacted. That every person which 
shall say or sing mass, being thereof lawfully convicted, shall for- 
feit the sum of two hundred marks and be committed to prison 
in the next gaol, there to remain by the space of one year, and 
from thenceforth till he have paid the said sum of 200 marks: 
and that every person which shall willingly hear mass shall forfeit 
the sum of one hundred marks and suffer imprisonment for a 

IV. Be it also further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
That every person above the age of 16 years which shall not 
repair to some church, chapel, or usual place of common prayer, 
but forbear the same contrary to the tenor of a statute made in 
the first year of her Majesty's reign for Uniformity of Common 
Prayer, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall forfeit to the 
Queen's Majesty for every month after the end of this session of 
Parliament which he or she shall so forbear, twenty pounds of 
lawful English money: and that over and besides the said for- 
feitures, every person so forbearing by the space of la months 
as aforesaid shall for his or her obstinacy, after certificate thereof 
in writing made into the Court commonly called the King's 
Bench by the ordinary of the diocese, a justice of assize and gaol 
delivery, or a justice of peace of the county where such offender 
shall dwell or be, be bound with two sufficient sureties in the sum 
of two hundred pound at the least to the good behaviour, and so 
to continue bound until such time as the persons so bound do 
conform themselves and come to the church, according to the 
true meaning of the said Statute made in the said first year of the 
Queen's Majesty's reign. 

IX. Provided also. That every person which usiially on the 
Sunday shall have in his or their house the Divine Service which 
is established by the law in this realm, and be thereat himself or 
herself usually or most commonly present, and shall not obsti- 
nately refuse to come to church and there to do as is aforesaid, and 


shall also four times in the year at the least be present at the 
Divine Service in the church of the parish where he or she shall 
be resident, or in some other open common church or such 
chapel of ease, shall not incur any pain or penalty limited by this 
Act for fiot repairing to church. 

XII. Provided also. That neither this Act nor anything 
therein contained shall extend to take away or abridge the author- 
ity or jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical censures for any cause or 
matter, but that the archbishops and bishops and other ecclesias- 
tical judges may do and proceed as before the making of this Act 
they .lawfully did or might have done; Anything in this Act to 
the contrary notwithstanding, 

23 Eliz. c, 1: Statittes of the Realm, 'w^bf,'}. 

(4) Act against Jesuits aod Seminary Priests, 1585 

The Act of 1585 arose out of the Throckmorton Plot, which brou^t 
home to the Queen's subjects in October, 1583, the danger in which she 
stood. This was followed by the murder of William the Silent, 'upon whose 
Atlantean shoulders the whole insurrection of the Low Countries rested,'^ 
on July iq, 1584, and ty the discovery in September of that year of the 
formidable designs of the Guises against her. The effect of these plots was to 
rouse the most serious apprehensions in the minds of all those who were 
loyal to the Queen and to the Elizabethan Church Settlem«it. The English 
Protffitants fcnew their weakness, for if Elizabeth should die she would be 
succeeded by Mary Stuart, since they had no Lady Jane Grey ready as an 
alternative candidate for the throne. Parliament would be dissolved by the 
demise of the Crown, the Privy Council would cease to exist, and the law of 
treason would change sides, for it would be the reformers who would be the 
rebels if they should resist the restoration of the mass. Thus when Parlia- 
ment met in November, its first Act achieved the new departure in the law 
of treason described below [pp. 381, 417], and its second Act banished all 
Jesuits and seminary priests. This legislation was specially aimed at priests 
educated and ordained abroad, and thus distinguished between the disloyal 
seminarist and the old Marian priest, who was, generally speaking, loyaR 

An Act against Jesuits, Seminary Priests^ and such other like 
disobedient Persons 

Whereas divers persons called or professed Jesuits, semin- 
ary priests, and other priests, which have been and from time to 
time are made in the parts beyond the seas by or according to 
the order and rites of the Romish Church, have of late years come 
and been sent, and daily do come and are sent, into this realm of 

^ Seeley, i, i68. 

^ See Law, The Arckprieu Controversy (Camden Society). 


England and other the Queen's Majesty's dominions, of purpose 
(as hath appeared as well by sundry of their own examinations 
and confessions as by divers other manifest means and proofs) 
not only to withdraw her Highness's subjects from their due 
obedience to her Majesty but also to stir up and move sedition, 
rebellion, and open hostility within her Highness's realms and 
dominions, to the great dangering of the safety of her most royal 
person and to the utter ruin, desolation, and overthrow of the 
whole realm, if the same be not the sooner by some good means 
foreseen and prevented : For reformation whereof be it ordained, 
established, and (enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty 
and the Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons in this 
present Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same 
■Parliament, That all and every Jesuits, seminary priests, and other 
priests whatsoever, made or ordained out of the realm of England 
or other her Highness's dominions or within any of her Majesty's 
realms or dominions by any authority, power, or jurisdiction 
derived, challenged, or pretended from the See of Rome since the 
Feast of the Nativity of St John Baptist in the first year of her 
ighness's reign, shall within forty days next after the end of 
this present session of Parliament depart out of this realm of Eng- 
land and out of all other her Highness's realms and dominions, 
if the wind, weather, and passage shall serve for the same; or else 
so soon after the end of the said forty days as the wind, weather, 
and passage shall so serve. 

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That 
it shall not be lawful to or for any Jesuit, seminary priest, or other 
such priest, deacon, or any religious or ecclesiastical person what- 
soever, being born within this realm or any other her Highness's 
dominions, and heretofore since the said Feast of the Nativity of 
St John Baptist in the first year of her Majesty's reign made, 
ordained, or professed, or hereafter to be made, ordained, or 
professed, by any authority or jurisdiction derived, challenged, 
or pretended from the See of Rome, by or of what name, title, or 
degree soever the same shall be called or known, to come into, 
be, or remain in any part of this realm or any other her Highness's 
(dominions after the end of the same forty days, other than in 
such special cases and upon such special occasions only and for 
such time only as is expressed in this Act; and if he do, that then 
every such offence shall be taken and adjudged to be high treason; 
And every person so offending shall for his offence be adjudged 
a traitor, and shall suffer, lose, and forfeit as in case of high 
treason : And every person which after the end of the same forty 


days, and after such time of departure as is before limited and 
appointed, shall wittingly and willingly receive, relieve, comfort, 
aid, or maintain any such Jesuit, seminary priest, or other priest, 
deacon, or religious or ecclesiastical person as is aforesaid, being 
at liberty or out of hold, knowing him to be a Jesuit, seminary 
priest, or other such priest, deacon, or religious or ecclesiastical 
person as is aforesaid, shall also for such offence be adjudged a 
felon without benefit of clergy, and suffer death, lose, and forfeit 
as in case of one attainted of felony. 

in. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. If 
any of her Majesty's subjects (not being a Jesuit, seminary priest, 
or other such priest, deacon, or religious or ecclesiastical person 
as is before mentioned) now being or which hereafter shall be 
of or brought up in any college of Jesuits or seminary already 
erected or ordained or hereafter to be erected or ordained in the 
parts beyond the seas or out of this realm in any foreign parts, 
shall not, within six months next after proclamation in that behalf 
to be made in the City of London under the great seal of England, 
return into this realm, and thereupon, within two days next after 
such return, before the' bishop of the diocese or two justices of 
peace of the county where he shall arrive, submit himself to her 
Majesty and her laws, and take the oath set forth by Act in the 
£rst year of her reign^; that then every such person which shall 
otherwise return, come into, or be in this realm or any other her 
Highness's dominions, for such offence of returning or being in 
this realm or any other her Highness's dominions without sub- 
mission as aforesaid, shall also be adjudged a traitor, and shall 
suffer, lose, and forfeit as in case of high treason. 

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, If 
any person under her Majesty's subjection or obedience shall at 
any time after the end of the said forty days by way of exchange 
or by any other shift, way, or means whatsoever, wittingly and 
willingly, either directly or indirectly, convey, deliver, or send, 
or cause or procure to be conveyed or delivered to be sent, over 
the seas or out of this realm or out of any other her Majesty's 
dominions or territories into any foreign parts, or shall otherwise 
wittingly and willingly yield, give, or contribute any money or 
other relief to or for any Jesuit, seminary priest, or such other 
priest, deacon, or religious or ecclesiastical person as is aforesaid, 
or to or for the maintenance or relief of any college of Jesuits or 
seminary already erected or ordained or hereafter to be erected 
or ordained in any the parts beyond the seas or out of this realm 
1 I.e. the oath of Supremacy imposed by i Eliz. c. i, § 9 (the Act of Supremacy)". 


in any foreign parts, or of any person then being of or in any the 
same colleges or seminaries and not rieturned into this realm with 
submission as in this Act is expressed, and continuing in the same 
realm; That then every such person so offending, for the same 
offence shall incur the danger and penalty oi praemunire men- 
tioned in the Statute of Praemunire made in the 1 6th year of the 
reign of King Richard the Second. 

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That 
it shall not be lawful for any person of or under her Highness 's 
obedience, at any time after the said forty days, during her 
Majesty's life (which God long preserve) to send his or her child 
or other person being under his or her government into any the 
parts beyond the seas out of her Highness's obedience without 
the special license of her Majesty, or of four of her Highness's 
Privy Council, under their hands in that behalf first had or ob- 
tained; (except merchants, for such only as they or any of them 
shall send over the seas only for or about his, her, or their trade of 
merchandise, or to serve as mariners, and not otherwise); upon 
pain to forfeit and lose for every such their offence the sum of one 
hundred pounds. 

VIII. Provided also, That this Act or anything therein con- 
tained shall not in any wise extend to any such Jesuit, seminary 
priest, or other such priest, deacon, or religious or ecclesiastical 
person as is before mentioned, as shall at any time within the said 
forty days, or within three days after that he shall hereafter come 
into this realm or any other her Highness's dominions, submit 
himself to some archbishop or bishop of this realm, or to some 
justice of peace within the county where he shall arrive or land, 
and do thereupon truly and sincerely before the same archbishop, 
bishop, or such justice of peace, take the said oath set forth in 
anno prima, and by writing under his hand confess and acknow- 
ledge and from thenceforth continue his due obedience unto her 
Highness's laws, statutes, and ordinances made and provided, or 
to be made or provided, in causes of religion. 

% H: It % * % 

X. Provided nevertheless, and it . is declared by authority 
aforesaid. That if any such Jesuit, seminary priest, or other 
priests abovesaid shall fortune to be so weak or infirm of body 
that he or they may not pass out of the realm by the time herein 
limited without imminent danger of life, and this understood, as 
well by the corporal oath of the party as by other good means, 
unto the bishop of the diocese and two justices of peace of the 


same county where such person or persons do dwell or abide; 
that then upon^good and sufficient bond of the person or persons, 
with sureties of the sum of two hundred pounds at the least, with 
condition that he or they shall be of good behaviour towards our 
Sovereign Lady the Queen and all her liege people, then he or 
they so licensed and doing as is aforesaid shall and may remain 
and be still within this realm, without any loss or danger to fall 
on him or them by this Act, for so long time as by the same bishop 
and justices shall be limited and appointed, so as the same time 
of abode exceed not the space of six months at the most; and that 
no person or persons shall sustain any loss or incur any danger 
by this Act for the receiving: or maintaining of any such person, 
or persons so licensed as is aforesaid, for and during such timer 
only as such person or persons shall: be so licensed to tarry within 
this realm; Anything contained in this Act to the contrary not- 

XI. And. be it also further enacted by authority aforesaid^. 
That every person or persons being subject of this realm which 
after the said forty days shall know and understand that any such 
Jesuit, seminary priest, or other priest abovesaid shall abide, stay, 
tarry, or be within this realm or other the Queen's dominions and 
countries, contrary to the true meaning of this Act, and shall not 
discover the same unto some justice of peace or other higher 
officer within twelve days next after his said knowledge, but 
willingly conceal his knowledge therein; that every such oiFendag 
shall make fine and be imprisoned at the Queen's pleasure: And 
that if such justice of peace or other such officer to whom such 
matter shall be so discovered do not within 28 days then next 
following give information thereof to some of the Queen's Privy 
Council or to the President or Vice-President of the Queen?st 
Council established in the North^ or in the Marches of Walts^ 
for the time being, that then he or they so ofi^ending shall for 
every such offence forfeit thesum of two hundred marks. 

XIII. And be it also enacted, That all such oaths, bonds, and 
submissions as shall be made by force of this Act as aforesaid, 
shall be certified into the Chancery by suck parties before whom 
the same shall be made, within three months after such sub- 
mission, upon pain to forfeit and lose for every such offence an 
hundred pounds of lawfiil English money, the said forfeiture to 
be to the Queen, her heirs and successors: And that if any person 
submitting himself as aforesaid do at any time within the space 
1 See p. 314 below. 2 See p. 3 31 below. 


of ten yeaus after such submission made come within ten miles of 
such place where her Majesty shall be, without especial license 
from her Majesty in that behalf to be obtained in writing under 
her handj that then and from thenceforth such person shall take 
no benefit of the said submission, but that the said submission 
shall be void as if the same had never been. 

27 Eliz. c. 2: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 706. 

The Parliament of 1593 was summoned to deal with religion, and the 
ecclesiastical question occupied much of its time. It was chiefly concerned 
with the repression ^f^extremerfyms^^^ 

pass ed agit?nsrfflfe^'g|^ ^Fff§f'|es1^^^'jS!'j[a7^^^ the 

first Tiffie'lTilCTen^lBSfef'Trom the RSiSsSTwMWefe'ml^'wiM'in a 

An Act against Popish Recusants 

For the better discovering and avoiding of all such traitorous 
and most dangerous conspiracies and attempts as are daily devised 
and practised against our most gracious Sovereign: Lady the 
Queen's Majesty and the happy estate of this common weal by 
sundry wicked and seditious persons, who terming themselves 
Catholics and being indeed spies and intelligencers, not only for 
her Majesty's foreign enemies but also for rebellious and traitor- 
ous subjects born within her Highness's realms and dominions, 
and hiding their most detestable and devilish purposes under a 
false pretext of religion and conscience do secretly wander and 
shift from place to place, within this realm to corrupt and seduce 
her Majesty's subjects and to stir them to sedition and rebellion : 
Be it ordained and enacted by our Sovereign Lady the Queen's 
Majesty and the Lords spiritual and. temporal and the Commons 
in this present Parliament assembled and by the authority of the 
same. That every person above the age of sixteen years, born 
within any the Queen's Majesty's realms or dominions or made 
denizen, being a Popish recusant and before the end of this 
session of Parliament convicted for not repairing to some church, 
chapel, or usual place of common prayer to hear Divine Service 
there, but forbearing the same contrary to the tenor of the laws 
and statutes heretofore made and provided in that behalf, and 
having ariy certain place of dwelling and abode within this realm, 
shall within forty days next after the end of this session of Parlia- 
ment (if they be within this realm and not restrained or stayed, 
either by imprisonment, or by her Majesty's commandment, or 
by order and direction of some six or more of the Privy Council, 


or by such sickness or infirmity of body as they shall not be able 
to travel without imminent danger of life, and in such cases of 
absence out of the realm, restraint, or stay, then within twenty 
days next after they shall return into the realm, and be enlarged 
of such imprisonment or restraint, and shall be able to travel) 
repair to their place of dwelling where they usually heretofore 
made their common abode, and shall not any time after pass or 
remove above five miles from thence : And also that every person 
being above the age of sixteen years born within any her Majesty's 
realms or dominions or made denizen, and having or which here- 
after shall have any certain place of dwelling and abode within 
this realm, which being then a Popish recusant shall at any time 
hereafter be lawfully convicted for not repairing to some church, 
chapel, or usual place of common prayer to hear Divine Service 
there, but forbearing the same contrary to the said laws and 
statutes, and being within this realm at the time that they shall 
be convicted, shall within forty days next after the same convic- 
tion, (if they be not restrained or stayed by imprisonment or 
otherwise as is aforesaid, and in such cases of restraint and stay 
then within twenty days next after they shall be enlarged of such 
imprisonment or restraint and shall be able to travel,) repair to their 
place of usual dwelling and abode, and shall not at any time after 
pass or remove above five miles from thence : upon pain that every 
person and persons that shall offend against the tenor and intent 
of this Act in any thing before mentioned shall lose and forfeit , 
all his and their goods and chattels, and shall also forfeit to the 
Queen's Majesty all the lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and 
all the rents and annuities of every such person so doing or 
offending, during the life of the same offender. 

[IL Recusants 'not having any certain place of dwellihg and abode' are 
to 'repair to the place where such person was born, or where the father or 
mother of such person shall then be dwelling,' and under like penalty 'shall 
not at any time after remove or pass above five miles from thence.'] , 

IV. Provided always and be it further enacted by the author- 
ity aforesaid. That all such persons as by the intent and true 
meaning of this Act are to make their repair to their place of 
dwelling and abode, or to the place where they were born, or wh,ere 
their father or mother shall be dwelling,- and not to remove or 
pass above five miles from thence as is aforesaid, shall within 
twenty days next after their coming to any of the said places, as 
the case shall happen, notify their coming thither and present 
themselves and deliver their true names in writing to the minister 


or curate of the same parish and to the constable, lieadborough^, 
or tithingman^ of the town; and thereupon the said minister or 
curate shall presently enter the same into a book to be kept in 
every parish for that purpose; And afterward the said minister or 
curate and the said constable, headborough, or tithingnian shall 
certify the same in writing to the justices of the peace of the same 
county at the next general or quarter sessions to be holden in the 
said county; and the said ustices shall cause the same to be 
entered by the clerk of the peace in the rolls of the same sessions, 
V. And to the end that the realm be not pestered and over- 
charged with the multitude of such seditious and dangerous 
people as is aforesaid, who having little or no ability to answer or 
satisfy any competent penalty for their contempt and disobedience 
of the said laws and statutes, and being committed to prison for 
the same do live for the most part in better case there than they 
could if they were abroad at their own liberty; The Lords spirit- 
ual and temporal and the Commons in this present Parliament 
assembled do most humbly and instantly^ beseech the Queen's 
Majesty that it may be further enacted, That if any such person 
or persons being a Popish recusant, not being a fenie covert^ 
and not having lands, tenements, rents, or annuities of an absolute 
estate of inheritance or freehold of the clear yearly value of twenty 
marks above all charges, to their own use and behoof and not upon 
any secret trust or confidence for any other, or goods and chattels 
in their own right and to their own proper use and behoof, and 
not upon any secret trust or confidence for any other, above the 
value of forty pounds, shall not within the time before in this Act 
in that behalf limited and appointed repair to their place of usual 
dwelling and abode, if they have any, or else to the place where 
they were born or where their father or mother shall be dwelling, 
according to the tenor . . . of this present Act. And thereupon notify 
their coming and present themselves and deliver their true names 
in writing to the minister or curate of the parish and to the con- 
stable, headborough, or tithingman of the town within such time 
and in such manner and form as is aforesaid; or at any time after 
such their repairing to any such place as is before appointed shall 
pass or remove above five miles from the same, and shall not 
within three months next after such person shall be apprehended 
or taken for offending as is aforesaid conform themselves to the 
obedience of the laws and statutes of this realm in coming usually 

1 'Originally the head oi sl fri^iorh, tithing, or frankpledge: afterwards a parish 
officer identical in functions with the petty constable' (Oxford Dictionary). 

2 The head of a tithing; see note i. * I.e. urgently, persistently. 

T. D. " 


to the church to hear Divine Service, and in making such public 
confession and submission as hereafter in this Act is appointed 
and expressed, being thereunto required by the bishop of the 
diocese, or any justice of peace of the county where the said 
person shall happen to be, or by the minister or curate of the 
parish; that in every such case every such offender, being there- 
unto warned or required by any two jiistices of the peace or 
coroner of the same county where such offender shall then be, 
shall upon his or their corporal oath^ before any two justices of 
the peace or coroner of the same county abjure^ this realm of 
England and all other the Queen's Majesty's dominions for ever; 
And thereupon shall depart out of this realm at such haven and 
port and within such time as shall in that behalf be assigned and 
appointed by the said justices of peace or coroner before whom 
such abjuration shall be made, unless the saime offenders be letted 
or stayed by such lawful and reasonable means or causes as by the 
common laws of this realm are permitted and allowed in cases of 
abjuration for felony, and in such cases of let or stay, then within 
such reasonable and convenient time after as the common law 
requireth in case of abjuration for felony as is aforesaid; And 
that every justice of peace and coroner before whom any such 
abjuration shall happen to be made as is aforesaid, shall cause 
the same presently to be entered of record before them, and shall 
certify the same to the justices of assizes and gaol delivery of the 
said county at the next assizes or gaol delivery to be holden in 
the same county: and if any such offender which by the tenor 
and intent of this Act is to be abjured as is aforesaid shall refuse 
to make such abjuration as is aforesaid, or after such abjuration 
made shall not go to such haven and within such time as is before 
appointed and from thence depart out of this realm according to 
this present Act, or after such his departure shall return or come 
again into any her Majesty's realms or dominions without her 
Majesty's special license in that behalf first had and obtained, 
That then in every such case the person so offending shall be 
adjudged a, felon and shall suffer and lose as in case of felony 
without benefit of clergy. 

VI. And be it further enacted and ordained by the authority 
aforesaid. That if any person which shall be suspected to be a 
Jesuit, seminary, or massing priest, being examined by any per- 
son having lawful authority' in that behalf to examine such person 
which shall be so suspected, shall refuse to answer directly and 

^ See note on p. 130 above. 

* On abjuration of the realm, see p. 1 5 above. 


truly whether he be a Jesuit or .a seminary or massing priest as is 
aforesaid, every such person so refusing to answer shall for his 
disobedience and contempt in that behalf be committed to prison 
by such as shall examine him as is aforesaid, and thereupon, shall 
remain and continue in prison without bail or mainprize^ until he 
shall make direct and true answer to the said questions whereupon 
he shall be so examined. 

VII, Provided nevertheless and be it further enacted by the 
authority aforesaid. That if any of the persons which are hereby 
limited and appointed to continue and abide within five miles of 
their usual dwelling place, or of such place where they were born 
or where their father or mother shall be dwelling as is aforesaid, 
shall have necessary occasion or business to go and travel out of 
the compass of the said five miles, That then and in every such 
case upon license in that behalf to be gotten under the hands of 
two of the justices of the peace of the same county, with the 
privity and assent in writing of the bishop of the diocese, or of 
the lieutenant or of any deputy lieutenant of the same county, 
under their hands, it shall and may be lawful for every such person 
to go and travel about such their necessary business, and for such 
time only for their travelling, attending, and returning as shall be 
comprised in the same license; anything before in this Act to the 
contrary notwithstanding. 

4t 4lt ¥t 4t ^ rlt 

[X provides that offenders against the Act may, before conviction, 
'come to some parish church -on some Sunday or other festival day and then 
and there hear divine service, and at service time before the sermon or 
reading of the gospel make public and open submission' according to a form 
provided, and so escape the penalties of the Act; the minister of the parish 
being required to enter such submission 'into a book to be kept in every 
parish for that purpose,' and also within ten days to 'certify the same in 
writing to the bishop of the diocese.'] 

iti * * * * * 

35 Eliz. c. 2: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 843. 

§ 4. The Puritan Movement 

In the Tudor period foreign influences were potent in English ecclesi- 
astical affairs. During the reign of Edward VI exiles from the continent 
took refuge in England and lavished advice upon the English reformers, and 
although the criticisms of Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr upon the Prayer 
Book of 1549 did not deflect the course of the English Reformation, which 
remained insular and not continental, they influenced individuals like 
Hooper and Ridley. During the reign of Mary the process was reversed, 
and exiles from England took refuge on the continent, where they came 

^ See note on p. 10 above. 


under the influence of continental religious thought, establishing direct con- 
tact both with the movement of the first generation, which Luther had 
founded, and that of the second generation which Calvin still controlled — 
the one as typical of the German mind as the other of the mind of France^, 
The attraction of Geneva proved the stronger, and when the exiles returned 
to England on the death of Mary, the majority of them profoundly im^iressed 
with the coherent system of doctrine and discipline which Calvin had 
established, they sought a closer conformity to the Genevan model, and 
advocated further changes in doctrine and worship which the Act of Uni- 
formity would not allow. 

Their chief criticisms of the Act fall into two groups: (i) the simpler 
controversy concerning vestmients, and (2} the more complicated con- 
troversy about the service-book and ceremonies. 

The Puritan party in the Church held that vestments were a relic of 
Popery, to which the common people were apt to attach undue and super- 
stitious importance, and they urged that they should be entirely abandoned 
in divine service. Even Bishop Jewel called them the 'habits of the stage' 
and the 'relics of the Amorites,' and urged that they should be 'extirpated 
to the roots' ;2 while Grindal hesitated to accept a bishopric because it would 
involve the obligation of wearing them. 

In connexion with the service-book and ceremonies a number of points 
were raised. The Puritans objected to cathedral worship^ partly because 
it involved the use of musical instruments. They also objected to the re- 
sponses in the service; to the frequent use there of the Lord's Prayer, as 
'vain repetition'; to the reading of the Apocrypha in the lessons; to the sign 
of the cross in baptism; to the institution of godfathers and godmothers; to 
the imposition of hands by the bishop at confirmation; to bowing at the 
name of Jesus; and to the use of the ring in marriage. 

(i) Puritan Articles in Convocation, 1563 

The objections of the Puritans to what they regarded as abuses in worship 
received strong support in the Lower House of Convocation^ when articles embody- 
ing their criticisms were brought in, and after 'a great contest in the House,' were 
rejected by 59 votes to 58. The. proposers were prepared to tolerate the surplice, 
but on most of the other points at issue they supported the Puritan view; although 
they were prepared to compromise on the question of kneeling at the sacrament. 

L That all the Sundays in the year and principal feasts of 
Christ be kept holy days; and all other holy days to be 

11. That in all parish churches the minister in common prayer 
turn his face towards the people; and there distinctly read the 

1 C.M.fl'. ii, 349. ' 2NeaI, i, 159. 

* ' Where the service of God is grievously abused by piping with organs ; singing, 
ringing, and trowling of psalms from one side of the choir to another; with the 
squeaking of chanting choristers, disguised. . .in white surplices. . .imitating the 
fashion and manner of Antichrist the Pope, that man of sin and child of perdition, 
with his other rabble of miscreants and shavelings' (pamphlet quoted in Neal, i, 384). 
But see Hooker's defence of music in worship, quoted on p. 177 below. 


divine service appointed, where all the people assembled may hear 
and be edified. 

III. That in ministering the sacrament of baptism, the cere- 
mony of making the cross in the child's forehead may be omitted, 
as tending to superstition. 

IV. That forasmuch as divers communicants are not able to 
kneel during the time of the communion, for age, sickness, and 
sundry other infirmities, and some also superstitiously both kneel 
and knock^; that order of kneeling may be left to the discretion 
of the ordinary within his jurisdiction. 

V. That it be sufficient for the minister, in time of saying 
divine service and ministering of the sacraments, to use a surplice; 
and that no minister say service or minister the sacraments but 
in a comely garment or habit. 

VI. That the use of organs be removed. 

Strype, Annals of the Reformation (edn of 1725), i, 337. 

During the first few years of Elizabeth's reign uniformity in public 
worship was not actively enforced, and great diversity of practice prevailed. 
An inquiry of 1 565 shewed that the service was sometimes said in the chan- 
cel and sometimes in the nave, in some places from the lectern and in others 
from the pulpit; that the surplice was not invariably used; that the com- 
munion table was sometimes placed 'altar-wise' at the east end of the church, 
and sometimes 'table-wise' iri the middle of the church or against the wall; 
and that the communicants stood, sat, or knelt, as they pleased. But the 
Puritan clergy first came into collision with authority, not over any funda- 
mental question of doctrine or worship, but over what kind of dress the 
clergy were to wear. 

The Injunctions of 1559 had prescribed 'such seemly habits, garments, 
and such square caps as were most commonly and orderly received in the 
latter year of the reign of King Edward VI,' and the minimum requirement 
of the rubrics was the surplice in ministration. ' Many well-meaning 
men,' says Strype^, 'chiefly such as had lived in the churches abroad (where 
they were not used) utterly refused these habits, upon these grounds, that 
they were popish, and used by the priests in the idolatrous church of Rome, 
ana invented by the Pope, and a note of Antichrist.' At Cambridge, in 
particular at St John's College, 'the fello\^ and scholars. . .chiefly the 
younger sort. . .fiirew off the surplice with one consent. . .and many in 
other colleges were ready to follow their example. . .such a persuasion of 
the superstition of it had some of their guides . . . beat into the heads of the 
younger; for the elder were generally more steady.'^ The movement spread, 
and soon all the colleges were affected by it, with one exception — 'King's 
College, in this hubbub among the rest of the colleges about the habits, re- 
mained obedient and quiet in the wearing of them.'* 

1 In the sense of smiting upon the breast. ^ Annals, '\, ^^c). 2/^.1,478. 

* lb. i, 482. Even in King's there was a faithful remnant. A certain 'sophister' 
came into the choir and 'placed himself among the thickest of the rest of the company. 


Archbishop Parker was anxious to deal with these disorders, but he was 
hampered by the unwillingness of Grindal, who sympathised with the Puri- 
tans, to act m his diocese of London, and by the refusal of the Queen to take 
a responsibility which she regarded as the business of the bishops. He was 
therefore obliged to proceed alone. He issued articles on the points in dispute, 
opened an ecclesiastical commission at Lambeth on March 26, 1566, sum- 
moned before it nearly a hundred of the London clergy who refused to con- 
form, admonished them, and threatened them with deprivation unl^s they 
consented to wear the gown and square cap, and in their ministration the 
surplice. Thirty-seven refused to conform, and sonie of them were eventually 
deprived; but they continued to conduct services and to preach in spite of 
their deprivation. These may be regarded as the first English Non- 
conformists. The Archbishop's articles were twice unsuccessfully submitted 
to the Queen for her signature, but they never received the royal 
sanction. They were therefore published under the unobtrusive title of 
' Advertisements.'^ 

(2) The Controversy concerning Church Government, 1572 

Hitherto the Puritan attack upon the Elizabethan Church Settlement 
had been confined to doctrine and worship. In 1572, however, a fresh line 
of controversy was developed when Thomas Cartwright and his followers 
opened an assault upon Church government and organisation. This at first 
took the comparatively innocent form of professorial lectures. In 1569 
Cartwright had been appointed Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity in 
the University of Cambridge, and in lecturing upon the Acts of the Aposdes 
he took occasion to compare the hierarchical constitution of the Church of 
England with what he conceived to be the organisation of the primitive 
Church. This led to his deprivation and withdrawal to Geneva, but he re- 
turned to England in 1572 to publish the Second Admonition to Parliament 
[p. 167], in support of the First Admonition already issued by John Field 
and Thomas Wilcox, two London clergymen. In 1574 Walter Travers 
published his Disciplina Ecclesiastica, which Cartwright translated under the 
title A full and plain Declaration of Ecclesiastical Discipline out of the Word 
of God, and of the declining of the Church of England from the same. This 
work became the text-book of English Puritan discipline, for it attempted 
to adapt to English life the Presbyterian system whidi Calvin had set up at 

These writings broke new ground, and, for a time at least, changed the 
whole character of English Puritanism. 'Hitherto,' says Strype% 'the quarrel 
was only about wearing the cap and the surplice and such-like apparel, and the 

all with their surplices on but he alone without one. And when the Censor of the 
College had called him and questioned him for this irregularity, he answered 
modestly, laying the cause upon his conscience, which would not suffer him to let 
loose the reins to such things; when at length the true cause was known to be that 
he had pawned his surplice to a cook, with whom he had run in debt for his belly' 
(p. 483)- 

1 These are printed in full in Gee and Hardy, p. 467, and with omissions in 
Prothero, p. 191. 

* Annals, i, 623. 


posture in receiving the sacrament; but now they attempt to move another 
and a more dangerous matter in assaulting the hierarchy of the Church, and 
disproving and condemning the ancient, wholesome government used in it 
by archbishops and bishops, deans and archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical 
officers.' In thus criticising the system of Church government, the Puritans 
were attacking the Royal Supremacy — the corner-stone of the Elizabethan 

Cartvwight and his followers anticipated the position of the later Puri- 
tans, that the Bible is not only infallible but also literally inspired, aflFording 
the sole authoritative rule of conduct in matters public and political as 
well as private and personal. They also professed to find in the New Testa- 
ment a system of government clearly laid down for the Church of Christ, 
which ordered all the details of Christian worship with as much precision 
as the government and worship of the Jewish Church had been ordered in 
the Old Testament. This was not the episcopal system of the reign of 
Elizabeth, but a Presbyterian system like tiat set up by Calvin at Geneva. 
They therefore advocated the abolition of bishops, the popular election of 
clergy to living^ and the government of the Church by synods and presby- 

I. Thomas Cartwrxght, 1572 

The Second Admonition was entirely the work of Cartwright, and was mainly 
concerned in developing the views which he had already expressed. He had argued 
that a reformadon in Church government was needed; he now proceeds to indicate 
the lines on which it should be carried out. 

The life of the Word is the ministryof the same. . . . The former 
treatises tKerefore have rightly spoken against the bastard, idle, 
and unpreaching ministry of this Church. . . . Also there must be 
orders taken and looked unto for the bestowing of the livings 
provided in the Universities (now dens of many thievish non- 
residents), not to the greedy use of many cormorant Masters of 
Colleges and at their wicked pleasure, as they are, but to the 
bringing up for the most part of such as will be content to be 
employed upon the charge of the ministry whenas the Church 
shall have need of them, and to take from them that have more 
livings all save one, and that too^ except they will be resident, and 
be able and willing to discharge it. . .(pp. 12, 13). 

. . . Next, you must repeal your statute or statutes whereby 
you have authorised that ministry that now is, making your 
estate partly to consist of Lords spiritual (as you call them), and 
making one minister higher than another, appointing also an 
order to ordain ministers, which order is clean differing fro:^ the 
Scriptures; wherefore you must have the order for these things 
drawn out of the Scriptures, which order is this. When any 
parish is destitute of a pastor or of a teacher, the same parish may 
have recourse to the next conference, and to them make it known, 


that they may procure chiefly from the one of the Universities, or, 
if otherwise, a man learned and of good report, whom, after trial 
of his gifts had in their conference, they may present unto the 
parish which before had been with them about that matter, but 
yet so that the same parish have him a certain time amongst them, 
that they may be acquainted with his gifts and behaviour, and 
give their consents for his stay amongst them if they can allege 
no just cause to the contrary, for he may not be sent away again 
which is so sent to a parish except a just cause of misliking, the 
cause alleged being justly proved against him either amongst 
themselves in their own consistory, so that he will appeal no fur- 
ther for his trial, or else in the next conference, or council pro- 
vincial, or national, unto which from one to another he may 
appeal if he find himself clear; and if he give over they may pro- 
ceed as afore for another. And when such an one is found to 
whom the parish must give consent because there is no just cause 
to be alleged against him, the next conference by whose means he 
was procured shall be certified of the parish's liking, whereupon 
they shall amongst themselves agree upon one of the ministers 
which shall be sent by them to the same parish, and after a sermon 
made according to the occasion, and earnest prayer to God, with 
fasting according to the example of the Scriptures, made by that 
congregation to God that it would please him to direct them in 
their choice and to bless that man whom they choose, he shall 
require to know their consent, which being granted he and the 
elders shall lay their hands on him, to signify to him that he is 
lawfully called to that parish to be pastor there or teacher. . . 
(pp. 13-15)- 

... If to read the Scriptures, the Homilies, and the course of 
our Book of Common Prayers were enough . . . then a boy of ten 
years old may do the minister's office, for the substance of their 
office is not in the years but in the reading. And indeed boys and 
senseless asses are our common ministers for the most part, for 
but common reason may serve this turn and do this feat well 
enough. It is indeed less busy^ than popish priests' service be- 
cause the calendar and the rubrics of the book are fewer and 
plainer. . .so that less clerks than popish priests which had but 
some blind Latin in their belly may serve for our store; and there- 
fore indeed the blindest buzzard of them, if he will keep his con- 
science to himself. . .if he will subscribe to our Articles of Chris- 
tian Religion before his ordinary and blindly read them at his 
benefices, he shall not only be serving priest, (I use their own 

^ Elaborate. 


terms), but he may have one benefice or more and nothing shall 
nor may be said against him, and, so he provide his quarter ser- 
mons or pay his ordinary for that default and such-like, he is as 
good a pastor as the best. . . . No, no, this is not that ministry 
which we have need of, and which God erected in his Church , . . 
(pp. 26, 21). 

. . . This is the right way to bring the ministry into credit and 
estimation — their gifts given them of God and their painfulness 
and honest life amongst their congregations, and not to make 
some of them Lords, Graces, Earls, Prelate and Register of the 
Garter, Barons, Suffragans, some of them rich Deans, Arch- 
deacons, Masters of Colleges, Chancellors, Prebends, rich par- 
sons and vicars, and though some of them be poor enough to get 
them credit by their rochets, hoods, caps, cloaks, tippets, and 
gowns, or such-like implements used by the Pharisees, which 
claimed high rooms and made large borders on their garments 
and loved to be greeted and to be called Rabbi, which things by 
our Saviour are forbidden his ministers and an order enjoined 
that they which look for it should not have it but be least esteemed 
...(p. 22). 

. . . The Book [of Common Prayer] is such a piece of work 
as it is strange we will use it; besides I cannot account it praying 
as they use it commonly, but only reading or saying of prayers, 
even as a child that learneth to read, if his lesson be a prayer he 
readeth a prayer, he doth not pray.. . .For though they have 
many guises, now to kneel and now to stand, these be of course, 
and not of any prick of conscience or piercing of the heart most 
commonly. One he kneeleth on his knees, and this way he looketh 
and that way he looketh; another he kneeleth himself asleep; 
another kneeleth with such devotion that he is so far in talk that 
he forgetteth to arise till his knee ache or his talk endeth or service 
is done. And why is all this but that there is no such praying as 
should touch the heart?. . . Is this praying? God grant us to feel 
our lacks better than this, and to take a better order than this for 
prayer; it is and will be all naught else. . .(pp. 39, 40)' 

... I have already made mention of a consistory which were 
to be had in every congregation. That consisteth first of the 
ministers of the same congregation, as the guides and mouth of the 
rest, to direct them by the Scriptures, and to speak at their ap- 
pointment that which shall be consented upon amongst them all, 
because of their gifts and place amongst them, which maketh 
them more fit for those purposes. "The assistants are they whom 
the parish shall consent upon and choose for their good judgment 


in religion and godliness, . . . using the advice of their ministers 
therein chiefly... and also using earnest prayers with fasting, as in 
the choice of the minister; and having made their choice, there- 
after they shall publish their agreement in their parish, and, after 
a sermon by their minister, at their appointment and upon their 
consent the minister may lay his hands upon every of them to 

testifytothem their admission This consistory. . . shall examine 

all disordered ceremonies used in place of prayer and abolish those 
which they find evil or unprofitable, and bring in such orders as 
their congregation shall have need of, so they be few and appar- 
ent^, necessary both for edifying and profit and decent order, 
proving it plainly to the whole church that it is so. . . . These shall 
receive the informations of the deacons for the relief of the poor 
and their accounts for that which they shall lay out that way and 
of their diligence in visiting them, that the congregations may 
by the consistory be certified of all things concerning the poor, 
both that there may be made provision accordingly, and that the 
provision made may be well husbanded, and the poor may by 
the deacons be visited, comforted, and relieved according to their 
lack. Lastly, one or more of these assistants, with one of the 
ministers and a deacon or deacons, shall be those that shall at their 
church's charges meet at the provincial council, or national, if 
there be any business that concerneth their church. ... A deacon 
is an officer of the church for the behoof of the poor, chosen to 
this office by the congregation by such means as afore is pre- 
scribed in the choice of elders, by advice and consent, being a 
noted man for godly judgment and faithfulness.. . .(pp- 44-9)- 
Cartwright, Second Admonition to Parliament, 1572. 

2. Richard Hooker, 1594—7 

The Elizabethan Church Setdement was not without able defenders. The task 
of answering the Puritans fell first upon Whitgift, but it was taken up later with 
far greater dignity and power by Richard Hooker, at first in sermons, which he 
preached as Master of the Tiemple in controversy with Travers, who was afternoon 
lecturer there, and afterwards in the book on which his fame securely rests. Hooker 
had been educated and sent to Oxford at Jewel's expense; thus the connexion is 
curiously close between the champion of Anglicanism against the Puritans and the 
champion of Anglicanism against Rome. But unlike Jewel, who had to administer 
the diocese of Salisbury, Hooker was a student and not a man of affairs. Walton 

describes him as 'an obscure, harmless man, of a mean stature and stooping,'* 

and Fuller refers to his 'dove-like simplicity.'* Yet in spite of these drawbacks the 
author of the Ecclesiastical Polity is destined to immortal fame. The Preface and 

. ^ Clear, obvious. 2 Walton, p. 272. 

* Fuller, iii, 155. 


the first Four Books probably appeared in 1 594; the Fifth Book, which is longer 
than the first four put together, in 1 597. The remaining three books did not appear 
until long after his death, when they were unsatisfactorily edited from his rough 
notes, and their genuineness has been disputed. 

The purpose of the Ecclesiastical Polity was to provide the Elizabethan Church 
Settlement with 'a philosophical and logical basis, '^ by a systematic investigation of 
the general principles of Church government; and the enterprise is undertaken in 
the largest possible spirit. Cartwright and his followers maintained that all ecclesi- 
astical institutions derived their authority from Scripture alone, and therefore that 
any institution not mentioned in Scripture was erroneous, and ought to be abolished. 
Hooker argued tha:t human conduct was not to be guided by Scripture alone, but 
by 'all the sources of light and truth with which man finds himself encompassed.'^ 
The Church had not been stereotyped for all time in the pages of the New Testa- 
ment; it was a living body, able to adapt its institutions from time to time to the 
varying needs of different ages. His doctrine, if stated in modern terms, is that of 
the organism adapting itself to its environment; and it was developed by a style as 
massive and rich as that of Bacon himself. 

The Preface 

. . . Under the happy reign of her Majesty which now is, the 
greatest matter awhile contended for was the wearing of the cap 
and surplice, till there came Admonitions directed unto the High 
Court of Parliament^ by men who, concealing their names, thought 
it glory enough to discover their minds and affections, which now 
were universally bent even against all the orders and laws wherein 
this Church is found unconformable to the platform of Geneva. 
Concerning the defender of which Admonitions all that I mean 
to say is but this : There will come a time when three words uttered 
with charity and meekness shall receive a far more blessed reward 
than three thousand volumes written with disdainful sharpness of wit. 
But the manner of men's writing must not alienate our hearts 
from the truth, if it appear they have the truth. . . . (§ 2). 

. . . Weigh what doth move the common sort so much to 
favour this innovation, and it shall soon appear unto you that the 
force of particular reasons which for your several opinions are 
alleged is a thing whereof the multitude never did nor could so 
consider as to be therewith wholly carried; but certain general 
inducements are used to make saleable your cause in gross, and 
when once men have cast a fancy towards it any slight declaration 
of specialties will serve to lead forward men's inclinable and pre- 
pared minds. The method of winning the people's affection unto 
a general liking of the cause (for so ye term it) hath been this. 
First, in the hearing of the multitude the faults especially of 
higher callings are ripped up with marvellous exceeding severity 

1 D.N.B. xxvii, 293. ^ lb. 

^ The First and Second Admonitions referred to on p. 166 above. 


and sharpness of reproof; which being oftentimes done, begetteth 
a great good opinion of integrity, zeal, and holiness to such con- 
stant reprovers of sin, as by likelihood would never be so much 
offended at that which is evil unless themselves were singularly 
good. The next thing hereunto is to impute all faults and cor- 
ruptions wherewith the world aboundeth unto the kind of ecclesi- 
astical government established. Wherein, as before by reproving 
faults they purchased unto themselves with the multitude a name 
to be virtuous, so by finding out this kind of cause they obtain 
to be judged wise above others. . . . Having gotten thus much 
sway in the hearts of men, a third step is to propose their own 
form of church government as the only sovereign remedy of all 
evils, and to adorn it with all the glorious titles that may be. And 
the nature, as of men that have sick bodies so likewise of the 
people in the crazedness of their minds, possessed with dislike 
and discontentment at things present, is to imagine that any- 
thing (the virtue whereof they hear commended) would help 
them, but that most which they least have tried. The fourth 
degree of inducements is by fashioning the very notions and 
conceits of men's minds In such sort that when they read the 
Scripture they may think that everything soundeth towards the 
advancement of that discipline and to the utter disgrace of the 
contrary. . . . (§ 3). 

The First Book: concerning Laws and their several kinds in 


He that goeth about to persuade a multitude that they are not 
so well governed as they ought to be, shall never want attentive 
and favourable hearers; because they know the manifold defects 
whereunto every kind of regiment is subject, but the secret lets 
and difficulties, which in public proceedings are innumerable and 
inevitable, they have not ordinarily the judgment to consider. 
And because such as openly reprove supposed disorders of state 
are taken for principal friends to the common benefit of all, and 
for men that carry singular freedom of mind, under this fair and 
plausible colour whatsoever they utter passeth for good and cur- 
rent. That which wanteth in the weight of their speech is supplied 
by the aptness of men's minds to accept and believe it. Whereas 
on the other side, if we maintain things that are established, we 
have not only to strive with a number of heavy prejudices deeply 
rooted in the hearts of men, who think that herein we serve the 
time and speak in favour of the present state because thereby we 
either hold or seek preferment, but also to bear such exceptions 


and minds so averted beforehand usually take against that which 
they are loath should be poured into them ... (p. 2). 

The Second Book: concerning their first position who urge reformation 
in the Church of England^ namely. That Scripture is the only 
rule of all things which in this life may be done by men. 

. . . There is no necessity that if I confess I ought not to do 
that which the Scripture forbiddeth me, I should thereby acknow- 
ledge myself bound to do nothing which the Scripture command- 
eth me not. For many inducements besides Scripture may lead 
me to that which, if Scripture be against, they all give place and 
are of no value, yet otherwise are strong and effectual to per- 
suade. . .(p. 6$). 

The Third Book: concerning their second assertion, that in Scripture 
there must be of necessity contained a form of Church polity the 
laws whereof may in no wise be altered. 

. . . Now as it can be to Nature no injury that of her we say 
the same which diligent beholders of her works have observed, 
namely, that she provideth for all living creatures nourishment 
which may suffice, that she bringeth forth no kind of creature 
whereto she is wanting in that which is needful; although we do 
not so far magnify her exceeding bounty as to affirm that she 
bringeth into the world the sons of men adorned with gorgeous 
attire or maketh costly buildings to spring up out of the earth for 
them. So I trust that to mention what the Scripture of God 
leaveth unto the Church's discretion in some things is not in any- 
thing to impair the honour which the Church of God yieldeth to 
the sacred Scriptures' perfection. Wherein seeing that no more 
is by us maintained than only that Scripture must needs teach the 
Church whatsoever is in such sort necessary as hath been set 
down, and that it is no more disgrace for Scripture to have left a 
number of other things free to be ordered at the discretion of the 
Church than for Nature to have left it unto the wit of man to 
devise his own attire and not to look for it as the beasts of the 
field have theirs ... (p. 92). 

. . . They which first gave out that Nothing ought to be estab- 
lished in the Church which is not commanded by the Word of God, 
thought this principle plainly warranted by the manifest words of 
the Law. . . . Wherefore having an eye to a number of rites and 
orders in the Church of England, as marrying with a ring, crossing 
in the one Sacrament, kneding at the other, observing of festival 
days more than only that which is called the Lord's Day, enjoining 


abstinence at certain times from some kinds of meat, churching 
of women after childbirth, degrees taken by divines in Univer- 
sities, sundry Church offices, dignities, and callings, for which 
they found no commandment in the Holy Scripture, they thought 
by the one only stroke of that axiom to have cut them off. But 
that which they took for an oracle, being sifted was repelled. . . 
(p. 93). 

... In the Church of the Jews is it not granted that the ap- 
pointment of the hour for daily sacrifices, the building of syna- 
gogues throughout the land to hear the Word of God and to pray 
in when they came not up to Jerusalem, the erecting of pulpits 
and chairs to teach in, the order of burial, the rites of marriage, 
with such like, being matters appertaining to the Church, yet 
are not anywhere prescribed in the Law but were by the Church's 
discretion instituted? What then shall we think? Did they hereby 
add to the Law, and so displease God by that which they did ? None 
so hardly persuaded of them.. . .Sundry things may be lawfully 
done in the Church, so as they be not done against the Scripture, 
although no Scripture do command them, but the Church, only 
following the light of reason, judge them to be in discretion 
meet. . .so that free and lawful it is to devise any ceremoriy, to 
receive any order, and to authorise any kind of regimen^ no 
special commandment being thereby violated, and the same being 
thought such by them to whom the judgment thereof apper- 
taineth, as that it is not scandalous but decent, tending unto edifica- 
tion, and setting forth the glory of God. . .(p. 95). 

The Fourth Book: concerning their third assertion, that our form of 
Church polity is corrupted with' Popish orders, rites, and cere- 
monies, banished out of certain reformed Churches, whose example 
therein we ought to have followed. 

. . . Concerning rites and ceremonies, there may be fault 
either in the kind or in the number and multitude of theni. The 
first thing blamed about the kind of ours is that in many things 
we have departed from the ancient simplicity of Christ and his 
Apostles, we have embraced more outward stateliness, we have 
those orders in the exercise of religion which they who best 
pleased God and served him most devoutly never had. For it is 
out of doubt that the first state of things was best, that in the 
prime of the Christian religion faith was soundest, the Scriptures 
of God were then best understood by all-men, all parts of godliness 
did then most abound; and therefore it must needs follow that 
customs, laws, and ordinances devised since are not so good for 


the Church of Christ, but the best way is to cut ofF later inventions 
and to reduce things unto the ancient state wherein at the first 
they were. Which rule or canon we hold to be either uncertain or 
at least wise insufficient, if not both. For in case it be certain, hard 
it cannot be for them to shew us where we shall find it so exactly 
set down that we may say without controversy. These were the 
orders of the Apostles' times ^ these wholly and only^ neither fewer nor 
more than these. ... So that in tying the Church to the orders of 
the Apostles' times they tie it to a marvellous uncertain rule, 
unless they require the observation of no orders but only those 
which are known to be apostolical by the Apostles' own writings. 
But then is hot this their rule of such sufficiency that we should 
use it as a touchstone to try the orders of the Church by for ever. 
Our end ought always to be the same; our ways and means there- 
unto not so. The glory of God and the good of his Church was 
the thing which the Apostles aimed at and therefore ought to be the 
mark whereat we also level. But seeing those rites and orders may 
be at one time more which at another time are less available unto 
that purpose, what reason is there in these things to urge the 
state of our only age as a pattern for all to follow? It is not, I am 
right sure, their meaning that we should now assemble our 
people to serve God in close and secret meetings; or that common 
brooks or rivers should be used for places of baptism; or that the 
Eucharist should be ministered after meat; or that the custom of 
church-feasting should be renewed; or that all kinds of standing 
provision for the ministry should be utterly taken away and their 
estate made again dependent upon the voluntary devotion Oi 
men. In these things they easily perceive how unfit that were for 
the present, which was for the first age convenient enough. . . 
(pp. 130, 131). 

The Fifth Book: Of their fourth assertion^ that touching the several 
public duties of Christian Religion there is amongst us much 
superstition retained in them; and concerning persons which for 
performance of those duties are endued with the power of Ecclesi- 
astical Order , our laws and proceedings according thereunto are 
many ways herein also corrupted. 

. . . But howsoever superstition do grow, that wherein un- 
sounder times have done amiss the better ages ensuing must 
rectify as they may. I now come therefore to those accusations 
brought against us by prstenders of reformation. . . . For so it is 
judged, our prayers, our sacraments, our fasts, our times and 
places of public worship, ... our marriages, our burials, our func- 


tionSj elections, and ordinations ecclesiastical, almost whatsoever 
we do in the exercise of our religion according to laws for that 
purpose established, all things are some way or other thought 
faulty, all things stained with superstition. . .(p. 192). 

. . . That which inwardly each man should be, the Church out- 
wardly ought to testify. And therefore the duties of our religion 
which are seen must be such as that affection which is unseen 
ought to be. Signs must resemble the things they signify,. If 
religion bear the greatest sway in our hearts, our outward religious 
duties must shew it as far as the Church hath outward ability. 
Duties of religion performed by whole societies of men ought to 
have in them according to our power a sensible excellency corre- 
spondent to the Majesty of him whom we worship. Yea, then 
are the public duties of religion best ordered when the militant 
Church doth resemble by sensible means, as it may in such cases, 
that hidden dignity and glory wherewith the Church triumphant 
in heaven is beautified. . . . Let our first demand be therefore that 
in the external form of religion such things as are apparently, or 
can be sufficiently, proved effectual and generally fit to set forward 
godliness, either as betokening the greatness of God, or as be- 
seeming the dignity of religion, or as concurring with celestial 
impressions in the minds of men, may be reverently thought of, 
some few, rare, casual, and tolerable or otherwise curable incon- 
veniences notwithstanding. 

Neither may we in this case lightly esteem what hath been 
allowed as fit in the judgment of antiquity and by the long con- 
tinued practice of the whole Church, from which unnecessarily 
to swerve, experience hath never as yet found it safe. ... In which 
consideration there is cause why we should be slow and unwilling 
to change, without very urgent necessity, the ancient ordinances, 
rites, and long approved customs of our venerable predecessors. 
The love of things ancient doth argue stayedness; but levity and 
want of experience maketh apt unto innovations. . . . All things 
cannot be of ancient continuance which are expedient and needful 
for the ordering of spiritual affairs; but the Church, being a body 
which dieth not, hath always power, as occasion requireth, no less 
to ordain that which never was than to ratify what hath been 
before. . .(pp. 194-6). 

In the rest of the Fifth Book, which is longer than the first four Books taken 
together. Hooker takes those ceremonies and orders of the Church of England- to 
which the Puritans took exception, and defend^ them one by one. The extracts 
that follow will serve to illustrate his method. 

... No doubt from God it hath proceeded, and by us it must 


be acknowledged a work of his singular care and providence, 
that the Church hath evermore held a prescript form of Common 
Prayer, although not in all things everywhere the same yet for the 
most part retaining still the same analogy. So that if the liturgies 
of all ancient Churches throughout the world be compared 
amongst themselves, it may be easily perceived they had all one 
original mould, and that the public prayers of the people of God 
in Churches thoroughly settled did never use to be voluntary 
dictates, proceeding from any man's extemporal wit. To him 
which considereth the grievous and scandalous inconveniences 
whereunto they make themsislves daily subject with whom any 
blind and secret corner is judged a fit house of Common Prayer; 
the manifold confusions which they fall into where every man's 
private spirit and gift (as they term it) is the only Bishop that 
ordaineth him to this ministry; the irksome deformities whereby, 
through endless and senseless effusions of indigested prayers, they 
oftentimes disgrace in most unsufferable manner the worthiest 
part of Christian duty towards God who herein are subject to no 
certain order but pray both what and how they list; to him, I say, 
which wdgheth duly all these things, the reasons cannot be 
obscure why God doth in public prayer so much respect the 
solemnity of places where, the authority and calling of persons 
by whom, and the precise appointment even with what words 
and sentences his Name should be called on amongst his people. 

No man hath hitherto been so impious as plainly and directly 
to condemn prayer. The best stratagem that Satan hath, who 
knoweth his kingdom to be no one way more shaken than by the 
public devout prayers of God's Church, is by traducing the form 
and manner of them, to bring them unto contempt and so to 
shake the force of all men's devotion towards them. From this 
and from no other forge hath proceeded a strange conceit, that to 
serve God with any set form of Common Prayer is superstitious. 
As though God himself did not frame to his priests the very speech 
wherewith they were charged to bless the people; or as if our Lord, 
even of purpose to prevent this fancy of extemporal and voluntary 
prayers, had not left us of his own framing one which might both 
remain as a part of the Church Liturgy and serve as a pattern 
whereby to frame all other prayers with efficacy yet without 
superfluity of words . . . (pp. 239-40). 

. . . Touching musical harmony, whether by instrument or 
by voice, it being but of high and low in sounds a due propor- 
tionable disposition, such notwithstanding is the force thereof, 
and so pleasing effects it hath in that very part of man which is 

T. D. 


most divine, that some have been thereby induced to think that 
the soul itself by nature is or hath in it harmony. A thing which 
delighteth all ages and beseemeth all states; a thing as seasonable 
in grief as in joy; as decent being added unto actions of greatest 
weight and solemnity as being used when men most sequester 
themselves from action. The reason hereof is an admirable facility 
which music hath to express and represent to the mind, more 
inwardly than any other sensible mean, the very standing, rising, 
and falling, the very steps and inflections every way, the turns 
and varieties of all passions whereunto the mind is subject; yea, 
so to imitate them that, whether it resemble unto us the same 
state wherein our minds already are or the clean contrary, we are 
not more contentedly by the one confirmed than changed and led 
away by the other. In harmony the very image and character of 
virtue and vice is perceived, the mind delighted with their re- 
semblances, and brought, by having them often iterated, into a 
love of the things themselves. For which cause there is nothing 
more contagious and pestilent than some kinds of harmony; than 
some nothing more strong and potent unto good. And that there 
is such a difference of one kind from another we need no proof 
but our own experience, inasmuch as we are at the hearing of 
some more inclined unto sorrow and heaviness; of some more 
mollified and softened in mind; one kind apter to stay and settle 
us, another to move and stir our affections; there is that draweth 
to a marvellous grave and sober mediocrity, there is also that 
carrieth as it were into extasies, filling the mind with an heavenly 
joy and for the time in a manner severing it from the body. So 
that although we lay altogether aside the consideration of ditty 
or matter, the very harmony of sounds being framed in due sort 
and carried from the ear to the spiritual faculties of our souls, is 
by a native puissance and efficacy greatly available to bring to a 
perfect temper whatsoever is there troubled, apt as well to quicken 
the spirits as to allay that which is too eager, sovereign against 
melancholy and despair, forcible to draw forth tears of devotion 
if the mind be such as can yield them, able both to move and to 
moderate all affections. . . , They which, under pretence of the 
law ceremonial abrogated, require the abrogation of instrumental 
music, approving nevertheless the use of vocal melody to remain, 
must shew some reason wherefore the one should be thought a 
legal' ceremony and not the other. In church music curiosity and 
ostentation of art, wanton or light or unsuitable harmony, such 
as only pleaseth the ear and doth not naturally serve to the very 
kind and degree of those impressions which the matter that goeth 


with it leaveth or is apt to leave in men's minds, doth rather 
blemish and disgrace that we do than add either beauty or fur- 
therance unto it. On the other side, these faults prevented, the force 
and efficacy of the thing itself, when it drowneth not utterly but 
fitly suiteth with matter altogether sounding to the praise of God, 
is in truth most admirable, and doth much edify, if not the under- 
standing because it teacheth not, yet surely the aiFection because 
therein it worketh much. They must have hearts very dry and 
tough from whom the melody of psalms doth not sometime draw 
that wherein a mind religiously affected delighteth. . .(pp. 258-9). 

Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity (edition of 1620). 

(3) The Controversy coricerning Prophesyings, 1574-7 

The emphasis laid on the ordinance of preaching by the Puritan party 
within the Church had led to the development of a means of edification by 
the systematic study and discussion of the Scriptures which passed under the 
name of ' Prophesyings.'^ At Northampton in 1571 these exercises were 
established 'by the consent of the Bishop of Peterborough,. . .the Mayor of 
the town, .. . . and other the Queen's Maj esty's Justices of the Peace within 
the county and town,'^ and they included exposition of a text in the presence 
of the laity, followed by a private conference of ministers 'as well touching 
doctrine, as good life, manners, and other orders meet for them.'^ A similar 
system was set up at Bury St Edmunds in 1572, 'as was used in some 
other places of this and other dioceses, to the profit and edification in the 
knowledge of the Scripture both of the clergy and laity.'* The regulations 
for the diocese of Lincoln, set forth with the express sanction of the Bishop 
in 1574, exhibit in detail the character and aims of these exercises. 

I. Regulations for the Diocese of Lincoln, 1574 

The reasoned approval of the Bishop is given at the end of the document. 

. . . Exercises among the ministers and curates of churches 
. . .were now used in most dioceses.. . .In order to these exer- 
cises, the clergy were sorted into divers competent companies or 
societies by subscription of their names, and particular churches 
and days appointed, and the persons named to exercise and per- 
form in their order, and the rest, after the exercise was over, were 
to judge of what had been spoken, and a moderator to be present 
to determine and conclude all. . . . The moderator was nominated 
by the bishop of the diocese, as likewise the order of the whole 
allowed by him. 

This was practised to the great benefit and improvement of 

^ So called from i Corinthians, xiv: 'Follow after charity, and desire spiritual 
gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy He that prophesieth speaketh ... to edifica- 
tion, and exhortation, and comfort. . . . Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of 
spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.' 

2 Strype, Annals (edition of 1725), ii, 90. ^ li. ii, 91. * li. ii, 219. 


the clergy, many of whom in those times were ignorant both in 
Scripture and Divinity. In October this year the Bishop of Lincoln 
settled orders and moderators for these prophesyings in that part 
of Hertfordshire that lay in his diocese. . .and the likej no ques- 
tion, in the other parts of his see. 

IJPiegitlations offered to the Bishop] 

First, It is thought meet your exercises shall be kept every other 
week upon the Thursdays, from nine of the clock in the forenoon 
until eleven, and not past. So that the first speaker exceed not three 
qlilarters of an hour, nor the two last half an hour between them 
both. The remnant of the time to be left for the moderator.. . . 

A table of the names of the speakers being made, it may easily 
be known who should speak, whereof, at what time, and in what 
place, what course every man is bound to keep in his own per- 
son, except upon urgent occasion he be hindered. And then may 
he substitute a sufficient deputy, yet such an one as belongeth to 
our exercise, whose name shall be signified to the moderatof 
before. So that the place be never destitute, and the brethren may 
know whom to look for. 

All the speakers ought carefully to keep them to the text; 
abstaining from heaping up of many testimonies, allegations of 
profane histories, exhortations, applications, commonplaces, and 
divisions, not aptly grounded upon the text; not falling into con- 
troversies of our present time or state, neither glancing closely or 
openly at any persons, public or private, much less confuting one 
another. ... 

After the first speaker hath ended, the second is to speak of 
the same text and in the same order, having a careful respect to 
add and not to repeat, to beware as much as in him lieth that he 
utter no contradiction to the former speaker. If it fall out the 
former shall give out any false doctrine, the public confutation 
and qualifying of the words is to be left to the moderator, and 
the matter itself further to be handled privately by the brethren. 
The same order in the same text hath the third speaker to keep. 
And both of them, as the rest, are bound not to exceed the time. 

Prayers ought to be made by the first speaker for the whole state 
of the Church at the beginning of the exercise shortly; and at the 
end by the moderator, namely, for the Queen's Majesty, by whose 
good means God hath granted us liberty to proceed cheerfully in 
such exercises. Especially we have to pray for the grace of God's 
Holy Spirit, for truth, unity, reverence, discretion, and diligence 
m our ministry. The form of prayer is further to be prescribed. 



Our exercise shall be had only and wholly in the English 
tongue, avoiding allegation of Scripture, Fathers, profane authors^ 
etc. in the Latin, for spending of time; unless the force of some 
Latin or Greek word for further instruction be shewed as a, thing 
most necessarily to be noted where ability will serve. 

The exercise ended, the brethren coming together (the as- 
sembly being dismissed)^ and the first speaker for that time put 
apart, and all, so many as have not given their names to our 
exercise, secluded, the moderator shall require of the brethren 
by order their judgments concerning the first speaker, for whose 
cause chiefly the day's meeting and assembly hath been. First, 
how sound his doctrine; how he kept his text or wherein he 
swerved; how truly Scripture expounded and testimonies alleged; 
how he hath observed our order of prophesy; how plain or obscure 
his words; how modest his speech or gesture; how seemly, 
reverend, and sober his whole action in the exercise hath been; 
and wherein he failed. Withal is to be considered how some of 
his words doubtfully spoken may be charitably expounded and 
construed in the better part. This done, the first speaker must be 
contented to be admonished by the moderator and the rest of the 
brethren of such things as shall seem to the company worthy 
admonition. The same enquiry is to be made of the life of the 
speakers in their course; that we may all be reformed both in 
doctrine and in life. 

In this consultation and after this admonition to the speakers, 
shall be moved by any of the brethren any doubt that justly might 
rise of the text, and not yet answered by any of the speakers. 
Wherein he is to be resolved by the speakers and moderator; but 
if he seem not yet so fully satisfied, and the question of importance, 
by consent of the brethren it shall be deferred until the next 
exercise, for the first speaker for that time to handle in the en- 
trance of that day's prophesy. Further, none of the speakers shall 
take upon him publicly to make answer, unless he be able pre- 
sently^, pithily, and plainly to answer the same. 

No man shall willingly shun the exercise or fail in his course; 
neither shew himself disordered, or refuse to stomach such 
brotherly admonition as is to be used; neither speak publicly or 
privately against any good order taken by the brethren and ratified 
by our ordinary. And if any shall so do and be found therein in- 
corrigible, we have leave to put out his name in the table till he 
be reformed. And in the meanwhile we are to signify his fault 
unto the Bishop. 

1 Immediately. 


The appointing of the. ministers to our exercises belongeth 
unto our ordinary. Neither are we to place any to the same but 
such as shall be admitted by him, and those whosoever shall 
first yield to the observation of these orders and testify the same 
by their subscription. 

The Bishop's allowance 

These orders of exercise offered to me by the learned of the , 
clergy of Hertfordshire I think good and godly, and greatly 
making to the furtherance of true doctrine and the increase of 
godly knowledge in them that are not as yet able to preach; 
specially if the same rules be soberly, with wisdom and discretion, 
observed. Therefore I earnestly exhort ^nd require all such as 
will not shew themselves to be backward in religion and hinderers 
of the truth, diligently to observe the same and resort unto the 
exercise. Or if they will ,not, presently upon the warning of the 
moderators to appear before me, to yield an account why they 
will not submit themselves to so godly and profitable an exercise. 

Nevertheless I require that you admit not any to be president 
or moderator in that exercise but such as I have allowed by this 
present subscription, before that I, upon particular trial, shall 
accept and allow the same. Nor shall you permit any stranger to 
speak among you but such as you know will stay himself within 
the compass of these orders, and not break them to the defaming 
of the present state of the Church of England. Or if any shall so 
do, be he stranger or other, that presently one of the moderators 
stay him, that he proceed not therein. This 26th of October, 
Anno 1574. Thomas Lincoln^, 

Strype, Annals (edn of 1725), ii, 318. 

2. Archbishop Grindal's Letter to the Queen, 1576 

•These prophesyings,' says Strype^ 'were in danger of degenerating into 
controversies and contentious disputings. And the Puritans took their advantage of it 
by broaching their doctrines. Which was the cause that... the Queen absolutely 
required the bishops to put them down.' The trouble began as early as 1 574, 
before the death of Parker, and when Grindal succeeded him as Archbishop of 
Canterbury in 1575 they soon drew to a head. The Queen, to whom all theo- 
logical speculation was distasteful, regarded them as dangerous, and desired their 
suppression, but the primate, whose sympathies lay entirely with the Puritans, 
sought to regulate them by bringing them directly under the control of the bishops, 
excluding laity, and declining to allow deprived ministers to take part in them. 
His letter of protest to the Queen, here printed, is dated December 20, 1576. 

^ Thomas Copper,, appointed Bishop of Lincoln in 1570 and translated to 
Winchester in 1 584, was himself a learned preacher. He afterwards suppressed 
prophesyings in his diocese when they were forbidden by the Queen. 

2 Annals, ii, 219. 


. . . Now for the second point, which is concerning the 
learned exercise and conference amongst the ministers of the 
Church. I have consulted with divers of my brethren the Bishops 
by letters, who think the same as I do, viz. — a thing profitable to 
the Church and therefore expedient to be continued. And I trust 
your Majesty will think the like when your Highness shall be 
informed of the manner and order thereof; what authority it hath 
of the Scriptures; what commodity it bringeth with it; and what 
incommodities will follow if it be clear taken away. 

The authors of this exercise are the Bishops of the dioceses 
where the same is used, who, both by the law of God and by the 
canons and constitutions of the Church now in force, have 
authority to appoint exercises to their inferior ministers for in- 
crease of learning and knowledge in the Scriptures as to them 
seemeth most expedient. . . . (pp. 79—80). 

. , . These orders following are also observed in the said 
exercise: First, two or three of the gravest and best learned 
pastors are appointed of the Bishop to moderate in every assembly. 
No man may speak unless he be first allowed by the Bishop, with 
this proviso, that no layman be suffered to speak at any time. No 
controversy of this present time and state shall be moved or dealt 
withal. If any attempt the contrary, he is put to silence by the 
moderator. None is suffered to glance openly or covertly at per- 
sons public or private, neither yet anyone to confute another. If 
any man utter a wrong sense of the Scripture, he is privately ad- 
monished thereof, and better instructed by the moderators and 
other his fellow-ministers. If any man use immodest speech, or 
irreverend gesture or behaviour, or otherwise be suspected in life, 
he is likewise admonished as before. If any wilfully do break 
these orders, he is presented to the Bishop to be by him cor- 
rected.. . .(p. 80). 

. . . Howsoever report hath been made to your Majesty con- 
cerning these exercises, yet I and others of your Bishops whose 
names are noted in the margin hereof^, as they have testified unto 
me by their letters, having found by experience that these profits 
and commodities following have ensued of them : i . The min- 
isters of the Church are more skilful and ready in the Scriptures, 
and apter to teach their flocks. 2. It withdraweth them from idle- 
ness, wandering, gaming, etc. 3. Some afore suspected in doctrine 
are brought hereby to open confession of the truth. 4. Ignorant 
ministers are driven to study, if not for conscience yet for shame 

1 Canterbury, London, Winchester, Bath, Lichfield, Gloucester, Lincoln, 
Chichester, Exeter, and St David's. 


and fear of discipline. $. The opinion of laymen touching the 
idleness of the clergy is hereby removed. 6. Nothing by experi- 
ence beateth down Popery more than that ministers (as some of 
my brethren do certify) grow to such a good knowledge by means 
of these exercises, that where afore were not three able preachers, 
now are thirty meet to preach at St Paul's Cross, and forty or 
fifty besides able to instruct their own cures; so as it is found by 
experience the best means to increase knowledge in the simple 
and to continue it in the learned. Only backward men in religion 
and contemners of learning in the countries abroad do fret against 
if, which in truth doth the more commend it. The dissolution of 
it would breed triumph to the adversaries, but great sorrow and 
grief unto the favours of religion.. . .And although some few 
have abused this good and necessary exercise, there is no reason 
that the malice of a few should prejudice all. . . .(p. 8i). 

Strype, Life ef Grindal (edn of 1710), Bk. ii, Appendix ix. 

3. The Queen's Letter suppressing Prophesyings, 1577 

The usual method by which the Queen communicated with her bishops was 
through the Archbishop; but as Grindal was obdurate on the question of pro- 
phesyings, she ordered their suppression by a general letter of May 7, 1 5 77, sent to 
each bishop'direct. The Archbishop was suspended from his ecclesiastical functions, 
and continued in disgrace for five years; although in 1582, when his spirit was 
'enough purged of his proud folly,' the Queen forgave him just before his death. 

. . . We hear to, our great grief that in sundry parts of our 
realm there are no small number of persons, presuming to be 
teachers and preachers of the Church though neither lawfully 
thereunto called nor yet fit for the same, which, contrary to our 
laws established for the public divine service of Almighty God 
and the administration of his holy sacraments within this Church 
of England, do daily devise, imagine, propound, and put in execu- 
tion sundry new rites and forms in the Church, as well by 
their preaching, reading, and ministering the sacraments, as by 
procuring unlawful assemblies of a great number of our people 
outof their ordinary parishes and from places far distant, and that 
alsQ some of good calling (though therein not well advised) to be 
hearers of their disputations and new devised opinions upon 
points of divinity far and unmeet of unlearned people, which 
manner of invasions they in some places call prophesying and 
in some other places exercises; by which manner of assemblies 
great numbers of our people, specially the vulgar sort, meet to 
be otherwise occupied with honest labour for their living, are 
brought to idleness and seduced and in a manner schismatically 


divided amongst themselves into variety of dangerous opinions, 
not. only in towns and parishes but even in some families, and 
manifestly thereby encouraged to the violation of our laws, and 
to the breach of common order, and finally to the offence of all 
our quiet subjects that desire to serve God according to the uni- 
form orders established in the Church, whereof the sequel cannot 
be but over dangerous to be suffered. . . . We therefore . . . charge 
and command you. . ,to take order through your diocese. . .that 
no manner of public and divine service, nor other form of the 
administration of the holy sacraments, nor any other rites or 
ceremonies, be in any sort used in the Church but directly accord- 
ing to the orders established by our laws. Neither that any manner 
of person be suffered within your diocese to preach, teach, read, 
or any wise exercise any function in the Church but such as shall 
be lawfully approved and licensed as persons able for their know- 
ledge and conformable to the ministry in the rites and ceremonies 
of the Church of England; and where there shall not be sufficient 
able persons for learning in any cures to preach or instruct their 
cures as were requisite, there you shall limit the curates to read 
the public Homilies, according to the injunctions heretofore by 
us given for like causes. And furthermore considering for the 
great abuses that have been in sundry places of our realm by 
reason of the foresaid assemblies called exercises ... we will and 
straitly charge you that you also charge the same forthwith to 
cease and not to be used; but if any shall attempt, or continue, or 
renew the same, we will you not only to commit them unto prison 
as maintainers of disorders, but also to advertise us or our Council 
of the names and qualities of them and of their maintainers and 
abettors, that thereupon for better 6xaniple their puhishment may 
be more sharp for their reformation. And in these things we charge 
you to be so careful and vigilant, as by your negligence, if we 
shall hear of any person attempting to offend in the premises 
without your correction or information to us, we be not forced to 
make some example or reformation of you, according to your 

deserts. ... 

Cardwell, Documentary Jnnals, i, 373. 

In 1585 prophesyings were revived, under careful restrictions, by order of Con- 
vocation, in the hope of meeting complaints of an unlearned and unpreaching min- 
istry. The regulations for the Diocese of Chester, dated September i, 1585, are 
printed by Strype^. 

1 See Annals, ii, 3Z4, and Appendix 38 (p. 73). Extracts are given in 
Prothero, p. 206. 


(4) The Foundation of Independency, 1580 

The deprived ministers and the followers of Cartwright had no desire 
to abandon the Church of England; they sought rather to reform and revolu- 
tionise it. It is true that after deprivation they worshipped in conventicles, 
and on June 19, 1567, a meeting at Plumbers' Hall had been dispersed and 
fourteen persons imprisoned; this being the first conventicle that was broken 
up by force. But conventicle worship was an accident of circumstances and 
not an essential part of their teaching. TKus, although nonconformists, they 
were not sectaries. But during Grindal's archbishopric there appeared a 
new kind of rebellion against the Elizabethan Church Settlement, which, 
although at present unimportant, was destined to have large consequences in 
the next century. The essential principle of Independency be^an to emerge, 
rejecting the authority of bishop and synod alike, and claiming that every 
'congregation of faithful men' is autonomous, able to regulate its own doc- 
trine and worship. Sectarianism in its earlier form was an importation, for 
in 1568 the Family of Love appeared in London, practising 'love-feasts' 
and refusing to communicate in the parish churches. In 15.75 there are 
references to Anabaptists, and two Flemings were burned at Smithfield. 
English Independency, however, begins with Robert Browne, an eccentric 
Puritan from Cambridge, who about 1580 founded a small Independent 
congregation at Norwich. In April 1581 this came under the censure of 
the Bishop, and in the autumn of that year its members emigrated in a body 
to Middelburg. Another notable name among the Independents is that of 
Henry Barrow; and the extracts from one of his controversial writings given 
below will serve to indicate his position. It should be noticed that he attacks 
Calvin and the Genevan Discipline as well as the episcopal system, and 
claims for the Church the right to excommunicate kings as well as any other 
brother in Christ. The early Independents were called Brownists or Barrow- 
ists. They were relentlessly put down by the government and their con- 
venticles were broken up; and between 1583 and 1593, five Brownist? were 
put to death, among them men of high character, tf authority did not 
tolerate the conventicles of the deprived ministers, still less would it allow 
preaching by men who were unprdained. 

Henry Barrow, 1590 

Barrow's Brief Discovery of the False Church was not published until 1590; 
but an earlier statement of his views appears in his Third Examination before Arch- 
bishop Whitgift, Lord Burghley, and others, on July 18, 1588, printed from the 
Harleian MSS. by E. Arber in The English Scholar's Library, No. 8, pp. 40-48. 
In this he argues that tithes are unlawful; that the presbyter is not a priest, but an 
elder; and that the archbishop 'is a monster, a miserable compound, I know not 
what to call him, he is neither ecclesiastical nor civil, even the second beast that is 
spoken of in the Revelation' who 'arose for anger and gnashed his teeth.' 

. . . The people, upon a superstitious reverence and prepos- 
terous estimation unto their teachers and eldersj resigned Up all 
things, even their duty, interest, liberty, prerogative, into their 
hands, suffering them to alter and dispose of all things after their 


own lusts, without inquiry or controlment; whereupon the true 
pattern of Christ's Testament, so highly and with so great charge 
incommended by the Apostles unto the fidelity of the whole 
Church, was soon neglected and cast aside, especially by these 
evil workmen these governors, who some of them aiFecting the 
preeminence, sought to draw an absolute power into their own 
hands, perverting those offices of more labour and care into 
swelling titles of fleshly pomp and worldly dignity. . . . Then were 
these called bishops. . .and had under them inferior. . .bishops, 
as also deacons, subdeacons. Thus the whole Church growing 
remiss and negligent, both people and officers, that heavenly 
pattern left by the Apostles was soon violate, and upon new pre- 
tences more and more innovate. . . , The pride of some could not 
herewith be satisfied until they had gotten them a new dignity, 
namely to be archbishops over all the bishops in a province or 
country. Here were also new deacons, archdeacons erected; yet 
was not the ambitious thirst of some thus staunched, but they 
aspired yet to a more high degree and preeminence, so that there 
must now be picked out four principal cities which must carry 
four patriarchs. These had yet higher power than the arch- 
bishops, and were erected to see to the government and discipline 
(as they call it) of all churches, in respect, or rather in despite of 
those four beasts, which had so many eyes and wings, and stood 
day and night about the throne of God, but they were rather those 
four angels, which stood upon the four corners of the earth, hold- 
ing the four winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow 
upon the earth, neither on the sea, nor on any tree. 

But Satan having yet a further reach, ceased not here, but 
even amongst those four he still contended to set up one chief, 
which variably fell out, sometimes to one sometimes to another, 
until at length the lot rested upon the See of Rome, where the 
Papacy being upholden by and mixed with the Empire, and in 
the end swallowing it up, became the very throne of Antichrist, 
where he sitteth in his exaltation, to whom the key of the bottom- 
less pit was given; which being by him set wide open, the smoke 
of his canons, devices, trumperies, and abominations darkened 
the sun, poisoned the air; the locusts and scorpions that came out 
of this pit and out of this smoke, the multitudes and swarms of 
monks, friars, canons, vagrant and mendicant preachers, parish 
priests, etc. so pestered and poisoned every tree, so stung and 
envenomed every conscience, as they could bear no fruit neither 
brook any wholesome doctrine. , .(pp. 3, 4). 

. . . The Prince himself en tereth by the same door of faith into 


the Church, and is bound to the strait observation and obedience 
of God's laws in his calling as well a% any other; and is for any 
transgression thereof liable and subject to the censures and judg- 
ments of Christ in his Church, which are without partia,lity or 
respect of persons. Which censures and judgments if the Prince 
contemn, he contemneth them against his own soul, and is there^ 
upon by the same power of Christ to be disfranchised out of the 
Church, and to be delivered over unto Satan as well as any other 
offender. Now though by this sin he loseth his right to be a 
Christian or member of the Church, yet loseth he not his right 
to be a king or magistrate, and is so to be held and obeyed of all 
faithful Christians which are his subjects. . .(pp. 14, 15). 

I hope by this little which hath been said concerning the 
education ana training of these our great divines, it appeareth 
unto all men (that will judge by the word of God and are indued 
with the spirit of God) what kind of fellowships these University 
colleges are, what kind of cages full of unclean birds, of foul and 
hateful spirits, etc. . . . The Universities of Cambridge and Ox- 
ford have the same popish and idolatrous beginning that the col- 
leges of monks, friars, nuns, and those vermin had, and still 
retain the same unsufferable and incurable abuses, etc. ; therefor^ 
Queen Elizabeth hath and ought by as good right to abolish 
them as her progenitor did the abbeys. . . . And sure these Uni- 
versity knights are the very guard of Antichrist's throne,, the 
strength of his battle, his instruments to carry forth his wares, 
to subdue the people unto him, and keep them in his obedience 
— as bitter enemies of the Church and servants of God and of all 
righteousness as these Turkish janissaries to these christened 
regions with whom they have to do. . .(pp. 55, 56). 

Is this old rotten Liturgy their new songs they sing unt6 the 
Lord with and for his graces.? May such old, written, rotten stuff 
be called prayer, the odours of the Saints, burnt with that heavenly 
fire of the Altar, the lively graces of the Spirit, etc. ? May reading 
be said praying.? May such apocrypha trumpery be brought into 
the Church of God and there be read, reverenced, and received 
as the sacred Word of God.?. . .Is not this presumptuously to 
undertake to teach the Spirit of God and to take away his office, 
which (as hath been said) instructeth all the children of God to 
pray. . .and giveth both words and utterance .?... Is this the 
unity and uniformity that ought to be in all Churches and is 
amongst all Christ's servants, to make them agree in a stinking 
patchery-devised appcrypha Liturgy, good for nothing but for 
cushions and pillows for the idle priests and profane, carnal 


atheists to rock them asleep and keep them in security, whereby 
the conscience is no way either touched, edified, or bettered? 
Truly I am ashamed to think, much more to write, of so gross 
and filthy abomination, so generally received, even of all estates 
of these parts of the world, who have by a popish custom and 
tradition received that, one of and from another, without any 
warrant from the Word. . .(pp. 65, 66). 

And indeed we poor persecuted Christians whom you so de- 
spise and blaspheme, baptising us into the name of Browne, as 
though we had either derived or hold our faith of him or any 
mortal man ... (p. 11 3). 

The poor parish or congregation where these priests serve 
may not meddle or have to do with the election, administration, 
or deposing of these their ministers; for why, they are laymen 
and have no skill, neither ought to intermeddle with ecclesiastical 
affairs or with the Word of God. Be their minister never so blind, 
unsufficient, or vile a wretch, detected of never so horrible sins, 
yet may not they remove him; their only help is to complain to 
their Lord Ordinary.. . .Let their minister preach never such 
damnable or heretical doctrine, wrest, pervert, corrupt, falsify the 
Scriptures never so violently and heinously, all the Church. . . hath 
no authority, nay is by express law forbidden, to reprove this doc- 
trine presently or publicly, or yet to forbid him to deal with the 
Scriptures; their remedy is still to complain to their Ordinary. . . . 
But my purpose is ... to shew that every Christian congregation 
hath power in themselves, and of duty ought, presently and pub- 
licly to censure any false or unsound doctrine that is publicly de- 
livered or maintained amongst them, if it be known and discerned 
unto them; yea, any one member in the Church hath this power, 
whatsoever he be, pastor or prophet, that uttereth it. . .(p. 165). 

Now remaineth to be shewed that this exercise of prophesy 
belongeth to the whole Church, and ought not to be shut up in 
this manner amongst the priests only, the people being shut out 
either to speak or hear. . .(p. 172). 

. . . Nothing is more sure than this, the true Church can be 
established into no other order, it can receive none other oflicers 
or laws, than are in Christ's Testament prescribed. . . . O how 
great then is their wickedness, how pernicious their counsel, who 
(for filthy lucre's sake) persuade princes that they are not only 
not subject themselves in person to the laws and spiritual cen- 
sures of Christ in his Church,, but that they are not bound to 
admit that order of government prescfibed in his Testament . . . 
in their lands.?. . .(pp. 215, 216). 


The public censuring of any member, whether elder or other, 
is an action of the whole Church, whereunto (if it use the most 
fit members or officers) should such officers and members here- 
upon arrogate the whole action j interest, and power to themselves, 
secluding the whole body the Church, whose officers and mem- 
bers they are ? . . . What a dismembering of the body and rending 
of the Church would these ambitious priests make, who the one 
would withdraw all public actions of the Church into their popish 
courts, the other into their conventicles and synods of priests? 

As for reproof by admonition, any member of the Church 
hath free power also to reprove the greatest elder of the Church 
according to the quality of his offence; if his offence be private, 
privately, if public, publicly: yea, he is bound by the law of God 
so to do. . .(p. 230). 

. . .We have shewed how this power of excommunication, 
election, ordination, etc., is not committed into the hands of one 
particular person, as the Pope and his natural children our Lord 
Bishops now use it; nor yet into the hands of the eldership only 
or of the pastors of many particular congregations (as the re- 
forming preachers would have it), so much as it is given and 
committed to the whole Church, even to every particular con- 
gregation, and to every member thereof alike . . ,(p. 242), 

Henry Barrow, A Brief Discovery of the False Church, 1590. 

(5) Petition of the Commons for Ecclesiastical Reform, 1584 

On Grindal's death in 1583 John Whitgift succeeded him as Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. Elizabeth was fortunate in her archbishojps, and in 
Whitgift she found an ecclesiastic of high ability and character. Like Grindal 
he was a Calvinist and accepted Puritan doctrine, but he diflFered from 
Grindal in being a disciplinarian by temperament^, and he did not accept 
Puritan practice where it conflicted widi the Act of Uniformity. He is 
therefore identified with a vigorous coercive policy against Puritanism, and 
especially Puritanism among the clergy. In this he conceived himself to be 
defending the principle of unity against that of division, and presenifcg the 
ecclesiastical constitution against dangerous foes. 

In 1583 he improved upon Parker's Advertisements by drawing up 
Articles^ of his own, which had the effect of stopping conventicles altogetBer, 
and preventing the exercise of ecclesiastical functions by clergy who did ^ipt 
conform. Those clergy who refused to assent to the Articles were suspended, 

1 As Master of Trinity 'he generally ate his meals with the rest in the College 
Hall, that he might have the more watchful eye over the scholars, and to keep 
them in awe and obedience; and to teach them likewise to be satisfied with a 
moderate, thrifty diet, such as that of the College was whereof he was their pattern 
before their eyes' (Strype, Whitgift, p. 78)'. 

2 Printed in full in Gee an* Hardy, p. 481, and with omissions in Prothero, 
p. 211. 


and the powers of the High Commission Court were greatly enlarged on 
his advice, to make it easier to deal effectively with schismatics. 

The Articles required, among other things, ( i ) that ' all preaching, read- 
ing, catechising, and other suchlike exercises in private places and famiUes, 
whereunto others do resort being not of the same family' should be 'utterly 
inhibited'; (2) that ecclesiastics should 'at all times wear and use' the apparel 
prescribed in the Injunctions of 1559 and the Advertisements of 1566; and 
(3) that no one should be permitted to exercise ecclesiastical functions unless 
he subscribed before the bishop of the diocese to the Royal Supremacy, the 
Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-Nine Articles. 

The disciplinary action of Whitgift provoked a reaction in Parliament, 
for the ordinary layman disliked a system which silenced able preachers with 
sensitive consciences, but did not touch lazy, ignorant, and unconscientious 
clergy who conformed. Thus in 1584 the House of Commons took up 
the cause of the ministers whom Whitgift had deprived, and presented to 
the Lords a Petition for Ecclesiastical Reform with a view to joint action 
by the two Houses. jNothing came of the petition, but it is significant as an 
indication of the view taken in these matters by the influential laity. 

I . Where by a statute^ ... it was enacted that none should 
be made minister unless he . . . have special gift and ability to be 
a preacher, It may please their honourable Lordships to consider 
whether it were meet to be ordered that so many as have been 
taken into the ministry, . .and be not qualified. . .be within a 
competent time suspended from the ministry. . . . 

[2. A similar clause relating to 'unlearned ministers.'] 

3. . . .That none hereafter be admitted to the ministry, but 
such as shall be sufficiently furnished with gifts to perform so 
high and so earnest a charge; and that none be superficially al- 
lowed as persons qualified . . . but with deliberate examination of 
their knowledge and exercise in the Holy Scriptures. . . . 

4. , . . Whether it be meet to provide that no Bishop shall 
ordain any minister of the Word and Sacraments but with assist- 
ance of six other ministers at the least, . . . and that the said min- 
isters do testify their presence at the admission of such ministers 
by subscription of their hands to some act importing the same. 
And further, that this admission be had and done publicly, and 
not in private house or chapel. 

5. And where the admission of unnecessary multitudes to 
the ministry at one time hath been an occasion that the Church 
is at this day burdened with so great a number of unable ministers; 
. . . whether some provision might be made that none be admitted 
to be a minister. . .but in a benefice having cure of souls then 

^13 Eliz. c. 12, § 4: 'And that none shall be made minister. . .unless he be 
able to answer and render to the Ordinary an account of his faith in Latin ... or 
have special gift and ability to be a preacher.' 


vacant in the diocese of such a Bishop as is to admit him; or to 
some place certain where such minister to be made is offered to 
be entertained for a preacher; or such graduates as shall be at the 
time of their admission into the ministry placed in some fellow- 
ship or scholarship within the Universities. . . . 

6. ... Whether, for the better assurance that none creep into 
charges and cure being men of corrupt life and not of known 
diligence, it might be provided that none be instituted . . . without 
some competent notice before given to the parish where they shall 
take their charge, and some reasonable time allowed, wherein it 
may be lawful to such as can discover any fault in conversation of life 
in the person who is to be so placed . . , to come andobject the same. 

7. That for the encouragement of many desirous to enter the 
ministry which are kept back by some conditions of oath and 
subscriptions, whereof they make scruple . . . hereafter no oath or 
subscription be tendered . . , but such only as be expressly pre- 
scribed by the statutes of this realm; saving that it shall be lawful 
for every ordinary to try any minister presented to any benefice 
within his diocese by his oath, whether he is to enter corruptly or 
incorruptly into the same. 

8. Whereas sundry ministers of this realm, diligent in their 
calling and of good conversation and life, have of late years been 
grieved with indictments in temporal courts and molested by 
some exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction for omitting small por- 
tions or some ceremony prescribed in the Book of Common 
Prayer, to the great disgrace of their ministry, and emboldening 
of men either hardly affected in religion or void of all zeal in the 
same, which also hath ministered no small occasion of discourage- 
ment to the forwardness of such as would otherwise enter into 
the ministry;. , .that such ministers. . .be not from henceforth 
called in question for omissions or changes of some portions or 
rite, ... so their doings therein be void of contempt. 

9. That forasmuch as it is no small discouragement to many 
that they see such as be already in the ministry openly disgraced 
by officials^ and commissaries^, who daily call them to their courts 

1 The presiding judges of the archbishop's, bishop's, or archdeacon's courts. 

2 Officers exercising ecclesiastical jurisdictioh as representatives of the bishop^ 
in parts of their dioceses. 

The ecclesiastical courts were very unpopular, as they Were regarded as meddle- 
some and irritating. The authors of the First Admonition had described the Arch- 
bishop's Court as 'the filthy quake-mire and poisoned plash of all the abominations 
that do infect the whole realm,' and the Commissaries' Court: as 'a petty little stinking 
ditch that floweth out of that former great puddle, robbing Christ's Church of 
lawful pastors, of watchful seniors and elders, and careful deacons' (Prcthero, p. 199). 


to answer complaints of their doctrine and life, or breach of orders 
prescribed by the ecclesiastical laws and statutes of this realm; 
It may please the reverend Fathers our Archbishops and Bishops 
to take to their own hearings, with such grave assistance as shall 
be thought meet, the causes of complaint made against any known 
preacher within their diocese. . . . 

10. It may also please the said reverend Fathers to extend 
their charitable favour to such known godly and learned preachers 
as have been suspended or deprived for no public offence of life, 
but only for refusal to subscribe to such articles as lately have 
been tendered in divers parts of the realm, or for such like 
things, that they may be restored to their former charges or 
places of preaching, or at the least set at liberty to preach where 
they may be hereafter called. 

1 1 . Further, that it may please the reverend Fathers afore- 
said to forbear their examinations ex officio mero^ of godly and 
learned preachers not detected^ unto them for open offence of 
life, or for public maintaining of apparent error in doctrine, and 
only to deal with them for such matters as shall be detected in 
them; and that also her Majesty's Commissioners for Causes 
Ecclesiastical be required ... to forbear the like proceeding 
against such preachers, and not to call any of them out of the 
diocese where he dwelleth except for some notable offence for 
reformation whereof their aid shall be required by the Ordinary 
of the said preachers. 

12. Item, That for the better increase of knowledge of such 
as are employed in the ministry. . .whether it may be permitted 
to the ministers of every archdeaconry within every diocese to have 
some common exercises and conferences amongst themselves, to 
be limited and prescribed by their Ordinaries both touching the 
moderation and also the times, places, and manner of the same. 
So as the moderators of those exercises be preachers resident 
upon their benefices, having cure of souls, and known to bear 
good affection to the furtherance of such profit as may grow by 
the same exercises. 

1 In 1584 Whitgift drew up a list of 24 interrogatories to be tendered by the 
High Commission Court to any clergy suspected of non-conformity who were put 
on their oath to make true answer as to their practices and so to incriminate them- 
selves. This oath, being tendered, not on any accusation or information but in virtue 
of the Commissioners' office only and at their pleasure, was known as the oath ex 
officio mero. It was condemned by Lord Burghley as 'too much savouring the 
Romish Inquisition,' but its legality was upheld. The question is discussed in 
Stephens and Hunt, v, 279. 

^ Accused. Cf. the use of the' term in monastic visitations. 

T. D. 13 


13. Where complaint is made of the abuse of excommunica- 
tion. . . . Whether some bill might not be conveniently framed to 
this effect, viz. That none having ecclesiastical jurisdiction shall 
in any matter already moved or hereafter to be moved in their 
Courts (other than in the cases hereafter mentioned) give or 
pronounce any sentence of excommunication. And that for the 
contumacy of any person in causes depending before them, it 
shall be lawful to pronounce him only contumax, and so to de- 
nounce him publicly. And if upon such denunciation. . .the party 
shall not submit himself. . . then it shall be lawful to signify his 
contumacy in such manner and sort and to such court as hereto- 
fore hath been used for persons . . . excommunicate. And that 
upon such certificate a writ de contumace capiendo shall be 
awarded of like force to all effects and purposes and with the like 
execution as the writ de excommunicato capiendo is. 

14. Nevertheless, forasmuch as it seemeth not meet that the 
Church should be left without this censure of excommunication, 
it may be provided that for enormous crimes, as incest, adultery, 
and such like, the same be executed by the reverend Fathers the 
Bishops themselves, with assistance of grave persons, or else by 
other persons of calling in the Church, with like assistance, 
and with such other considerations as upon deliberation shall be 
herein advised of: and not by chancellors, commissaries, or 
officials, as hath been used. 

15. Where licenses of non-residence are offensive to the 
Church, and be occasion that a great multitude of this realm do 
want instruction . . . whether it were more convenient or necessary 
that the use of them were utterly removed out of the Church: and 
so likewise of pluralities. 

16. . . .That none now having license of non-residence. . .or 
which shall hereafter have, be permitted to enjoy the benefit of 
such license except he depute an able and sufficient preacher to 
serve the cure. . . . 

Strype, Life of Whitgtft, Appendix to Bk. iii, no. xiii (p. 70). 

(6) The Marprelate Controversy, 1588-9 

The Marprelate libels^ against the bishops attracted much public atten- 
tion, but some writers have taken them too seriously. The charges made 
were so impossible and the expressions used were so violent that they must 
be regarded as having a humorous intention, and they were so accepted at 
the time except by the government and by those whom they attacked. But 
underlying their satire there was always bitter indignation, and often effec- 

1 For a chronological list of the works which comprise the Marprelate Contro- 
versy, see E. Arber, The English Scholar's Library, No. 8, pp. 197-200. 


tive argument. John Penry, the chief author of the tracts, was executed for 
sedition in 1 593, although the indictment against him was not based on 
his complicity in the libels. 

Martin Marprelate, 1588 

The Epistle, 'printed oversea, in Europe, within two furlongs of a Bounsing 
Priest, at the cost and charges of M. Marprelate, gentleman,' was provoked by the 
publication in 1587 of ^ Defence of the Government Established in the Church of 
England for Ecclesiastical Matters, a work of 1412 pages directed against the 
Calvinists, by Dr John Bridges, Dean of Salisbury, and afterwards Bishop of 
Oxford. The author's ponderous controversial method made him an easy prey to 
his nimbler antagonist. 

To the right puissant and terrible priests, my clergy masters of the 
Confocation-house, whether fickers general, worshipful paltripolitan, 
or any other of the holy league of subscription. ... 

Right poisoned, persecuting, and terrible priests ... (p. i). 
. . . They are petty popes and petty Antichrists whosoever usurp 
the authority of pastors over them who by the ordinance of God 
are to be under no pastors. For none but Antichristian popes and 
popelings ever claimed this authority unto themselves, especially 
when it was gainsaid and accounted Antichristian generally by the 
most Churches in the world. , . * Therefore . . . our L. Bps . . . with 
the rest of that swinish rabble are petty Antichrists, petty popes, 
proud prelates, intolerable withstanders of reformation, enemies 
of the gospel, and most covetous, wretched priests ... (p. 5). 

They usurp their authority who violently and unlawfiilly re- 
tain those under their government that both would and ought (if 
they might) to shake off that yoke wherewith they are kept under. 
. . . Therefore our Bp. and proud, popish, presumptuous, profane, 
paltry, pestilent, and pernicious prelates. . .are first usurpers, to 
begin the matter withal ... (p. 7). 

. . . Therefore all the L. Bishops in England, Ireland, and 
Wales . . . are petty popes and petty usurping Antichrists, and I 
think if they will still continue to be so that they will breed young 
popes and Antichrists; /»(?r consequens, neither they nor their brood 
are to be tolerated in any Christian commonwealth, quoth Martin 
Marprelate. There is my judgment of you, brethren; make the 
most of it; I hope it will never be worth a bishopric unto you; 
reply when you dare, you shall have as good as you bring. And 
if you durst but dispute with my worship in these points, I doubt 
not but you should be sent home by weeping cross* I would wish 
you, my venerable masters, for all that, to answer my reasons, or 
out of doubt you will prove petty Antichrists. Your corner caps 
and tippets will do nothing in this point. . .(p. 10). 



Is it any marvel that we have so many swine, dumb dogs, 
non-residents, with their journeymen the hedge priests, so many 
lewd livers, as thieves, murderers, adulterers, drunkards, cor- 
morants, rascals, so many ignorant and atheistical dolts, so many 
covetous popish Bps. in our ministry, and so many and so mon- 
strous corruptions in our Church, and yet likely to have no re- 
dress; seeing our impudent, shameless, and wainscot-faced bishops, 
like beasts, contrary to the knowledge of all men and against their 
own consciences, dare in the ears of her Majesty affirm all to be 
well where there is nothing but sores and blisters, yea, where the 
grief is even deadly at the heart. Nay, says my L. of Winchester^ 
(like a monstrous hypocrite, for he is a very dunce, not able to 
defend an argument, but, till he come to the pinch, he will cog and 
face it out, for his face is made of seasoned wainscot, and will lie 
as fast as a dog can trot), I have said it, I do say it, and I have 
said it. And, say I, you shall one day answer it (without repent- 
ance) for abusing the Church of God and her Majesty in this 
sort. I would wish you to leave this villainy and the rest of your 
devilish practices against God his saints, lest you answer it where 
your peevish and choleric simplicity will not excuse you. I am 
ashamed to think that the Church of England should have these 
wretches for the eyes thereof, that would have the people content 
themselves with bare reading only and hold that they may be 
saved thereby ordinarily. But this is true of our Bp. and they are 
afraid that anything should be published abroad whereby the 
common people should learn that the only way to salvation is by 
the word preached. . .(p. 42). 

. . .But, brethren bishops, I pray you tell me; hath not your 
brother London^ a notable brazen face. . . ? I told you Martin 
will be proved no liar in that he saith the Bps. are cogging and 
cozening knaves. . . . The last Lent there came a commandment 
from his Grace into Paul's Churchyard that no Bible should be 
bound without the Apocrypha. Monstrous and ungodly wretches, 
that to maintain their own outrageous proceedings thus mingle 
heaven and earth together, and would make the Spirit of God to 
be the author of profane books ... (p. 47). 

Martin Marprelate, The Epistle, 1588 (reprinted in 

Puritan Discipline Tracts^ 1 843). 

^ Thomas Cooper, Bishop of Winchester, according to Wood, was 'much noted 
for his learning and sanctity of life,' and Godwin refers to him as 'a man from 
whose praises I can hardly temper my pen' {D.N.B. xii, 150). 

^ John Aylmer, Bishop of London, was a man of learning, but his temper was 
unconciliatory and his policy in his diocese gave special oiFence to the Puritans. 

^ See also E. Arber's reprint in The English Scholar's Library, No. 11. 


^(7) Act against Seditious Sectaries, 1503 

The violence of the Marprelate libels provoked a reaction in favour of 
the bishops, and the government w^as able to obtain from Parliament, without 
much difficulty, stj;t;M|-ory,powq r^s.fiar ,dg|i3g^yitli| P^^^ 

cou rts of commo n l aw^ a . nd ^ aHmffff^'W it 

put anenaTotneftroura^oFtne*reign as'^as^^y^^^^^!!^s\iriace o^ 


^K Act to retain the Queen's Subjects, in Obedience 
For the preventing and avoiding of such great inconveni- 
ences and perils as might happen and grow by the wicked and 
dangerous practices of seditious sectaries and disloyal persons : 
Be it enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty, and by the 
Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons in this present 
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That if 
any person or persons above the age of sixteen years which shall 
obstinately refuse to repair to some church, chapel, or usual place 
of common prayer to hear Divine Service established by her 
Majesty's laws and statutes in that behalf made, and shall forbear 
to do the same by the space of a month next after without lawful 
cause, shall at any time after forty days next after the end of this 
session of Parliament, by printing, writing, or express words or 
speeches, advisedly and purposely practise or go about to move 
or persuade any of her Majesty's subjects or any other within her 
Highness's realms or dominions to deny, withstand, and impugn 
her Majesty's power and authority in causes ecclesiastical united 
and annexed to the imperial Crown of this realm; or to that end 
or purpose shall advisedly and maliciously move or persuade any 
other person whatsoever to forbear or abstain from coming to 
church to hear Divine Service or to receive the Communion ac- 
cording to her Majesty's laws and statutes aforesaid, or to come 
to or to be present at any unlawful assemblies, conventicles, or 
meetings under colour or pretence of any exercise of religion, 
contrary to her Majesty's said laws and statutes; Or if any person 
or persons which shall obstinately refuse to repair to some 
church, chapel, or usual place of common prayer and shall 
forbear by the space of a month to hear Divine Service as is afore- 
said, shall after the said forty days either of him or themselves, 
or by the motion, persuasion, enticement, or allurement of any 
other, willingly join or be present at any such assemblies, con- 
venticles, ol: meetings under colour or pretence of any such exer- 
cise of religion, contrary to the laws and statutes of this realm as 


is aforesaid; That then every such person so offending as afore- 
said, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be committed to 
prison, there to remain without bail or mainprize^ until they shall 
conform and yield themselves to come to some church, chapel, 
or usual place of common prayer and hear Divine Service, accord- 
ing to her Majesty's laws and statutes aforesaid, and to make such 
open submission and declaration of their said conformity as here- 
after in this Act is declared and appointed. 

II. Provided always and be it further enacted by the autho- 
rity aforesaid. That if any such person or persons which shall 
oifFend against this Act as aforesaid shall not within three 
months next after they shall be convicted of their said offence 
conform themselves to the obedience of the laws and statutes of 
this realm in coming to the church to hear Divine Service and 
in making such public confession and submission as hereafter in 
this Act is appointed and expressed, being thereunto required by 
the bishop of the diocese, or any justice of peace of the county 
where the same person shall happen to be, or by the minister or 
curate of the parish. That in every such case every such offender, 
being thereunto warned or required by any justice of the peace 
of the same county where such offender shall then be, shall upon 
his and their corporal oath^ before the justices of peace in the open 
quarter sessions of the same county, or at the assizes and gaol 
delivery of the same county before the justices of the same assizes 
and gaol delivery, abjure^ this realm of England and all other the 
Queen's Majesty's dominions for ever unless her Majesty shall 
license the party to return, And thereupon shall depart out of 
this realm at such haven or port and within such time as shall in 
that behalf be assigned and appointed by the said justices before 
whom such abjuration shall be made, unless the same offender 
be letted or stayed by such lawful and reasonable means or 
causes as by the common laws of this realm are permitted and 
allowed in cases of abjuration for felony; And in such cases of 
let or stay^ then within such reasonable and convenient time after 
as the common law requireth in case of abjuration for felony as 
is aforesaid;. , .And if any such offender. . .shall refuse to make 
such abjuration as is aforesaid, or after such abjuration made 
shall not go to such haven and within such time as is before 
appointed and from thence depart out of this realm according to 
this present Act, or after such his departure shall return or come 
again into any her Majesty's realms or dominions without her 

1 See note on "p. 16 above. « See note on p. 130 above. 

* On abJTiratioii of the realm, see p. 1 5 above. 


Majesty's special licence in that behalf first had and obtained. 
That then in every such case the person so offending shall be ad- 
judged a felon, and shall suffer as in case of felony without benefit 
of clergy. 

[III. Offenders who, before they are required to make abjuration, 're- 
pair to some parish church on some Sunday or other festival day and then 
and there hear divine service, and at service time before the sermon or reading 
of the gospel make public and open submission,' according to a form pre- 
scribed in the Act, are discharged from the penalties inflicted by the Act. 
Such submissions are to be entered by the curate in a book to be kept for the 
purpose in every parish, and within 10 days he is to 'certify the same in 
writing' to the bishop of the diocese.] 

V. And for that every person having house and family is in 
duty bounden to have special regard of the good government 
and ordering of the same : Be it enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That if any person or persons shall at any time hereafter 
relieve, maintain, retain, or keep in his or their house or otherwise 
any person which shall obstinately refuse to come to some church, 
chapel, or usual place of common prayer to hear Divine Service, 
and shall forbear the same by the space of a month together, con- 
trary to the laws and statutes of this realm, that then every person 
which shall so relieve, maintain, retain, or keep any such person 
offending as aforesaid, after notice thereof to him or them given by 
the ordinary of the diocese, orany justice of assizes of the circuit, or 
any justice of peace of the county, or the minister, curate, or 
churchwardens of the parish whiere such person shall then be, or 
by any of them, shall forfeit to the Queen's Majesty for every 
person so relieved, maintained, retained, or kept after such notice 
as aforesaid, ten pounds for every month that he or they shall so 
relieve, maintain, retain, or keep any such person so offending. 

VI. Provided nevertheless, That this Act shall not in any wise 
extend to punish or impeach any person or persons for reliev- 
ing, maintaining, or keeping his or their wife, father, mother, 
child or children, ward, brother or sister, or his wife's father or 
mother, not having any certain place of habitation of their own, 
or the husbands or wives of any of them; or for relieving, main- 
taining, or keeping any such person as shall be committed by 
authority to the custody of any by whom they shall be so relieved, 
maintained, or kept; Anything in this Act contained to the con^ 
trary notwithstanding. 

X. Provided also. That every person that shall abjure by force 
of this Act, or refuse to abjure being thereunto required as afore- 


said, shall forfeit and lose to her Majesty all his goods and chattels 
for ever, and shall further lose all his lands, tenements, and here- 
ditaments for and during the life only of such offender and no 
longer; And that the wife of any offender by force of this Act 
shall not lose her dower; nor that any corruption of blood shall 
grow or be by reason of any offence mentioned in this Act; but 
that the heir of every such offender by force of this Act shall and 
may after the death of every offender have and enjoy the lands, 
tenements, and hereditaments of such offender as if this Act had 
not. been made; And this Act to continue no longer than to the 
end of the next session of Parliament, 

35 Eliz. c. I : Statutes of the Realm, iv, 841. 

(8) The Sabbatarian Controversy, 1595 

The Puritans had for some time been pressing for a stricter observance 
of Sunday, and in 1581 the question of the prohibition of Sunday fairs and 
of trading before morning prayer had been raised in the Privy Council itself. 
It was not, however, until towards the close of the reign that the controversy 
fully developed under the influence of Dr Nicholas Bownd's famous treatise, 
entitled 'The Doctrine of the Sabbath plainly laid forth and soundly proved 
by testimonies both of Holy Scripture and also of old and new ecclesiastical 
writers. . . .Together with the sundry abuses of our time in both these kinds, 
and how they ought to be reformed.' Bownd's position was adopted by the 
Pyritan party generally, and it was not long before his strict views concerning 
the observance of the Sabbath came to be in a special manner the note of the 

Nicholas Bownd, 1595 

Now if Adam, because he might fall, did stand in need of 
this day to preserve him from falling, how much more we, being 
so horribly fallen already (as we be) do stand in need of it again . . . 
to bring ourselves back into that estate from whence we are fallen, 
and as it were to recover our first footing } . . . Yes, surely, unless 
we be too much lovers of ourselves and overweened with the 
pride of our nature, must we believe that if the perfect image of 
God in Adam, not lightly shadowed but drawn out with most 
lively and orient colours by the finger of God himself, could not 
continue in his first beauty except by the pure means of God's 
worship (as it were by the first colours) it were now and then re- 
freshed . . . then when this goodly image is so foully defaced with 
sin that not so much as the first draught thereof doth appear, nay 
all the colours of it are by Satan sullied with iniquity or rather 
clean put out, have we much more need to sanctify many days 
by the Word, sacraments, and prayer, etc., that so the image of 
the first man might be renewed in us. . ,(p, 15). 


. . .It is most certain that we are, . .commanded to rest. . . 
from . . . all . . . things which might hinder us from the sanctifying 
of the Sabbath ... of which sort are all honest recreations and 
lawful pleasures which are permitted unto us upon the other days 
to further us in the works of our calling, which we do stand in 
need of even as of meat, and drink, and sleep. . . . We must not 
think it sufficient that we do no work upon the Sabbath, and in 
the mean season be occupied about all manner of delights, but we 
must cease as well from the one as from the other. . . . Therefore 
upon this day all sorts of men must give over utterly all shooting, 
hunting, hawking, tennis, fencing, bowling, or such like, and they 
must have no more dealing with them than the artificer with his 
trade or husbandman with his plough. . .(pp. 131— 2). 

Nicholas Bownd, The Doctrine of the Sabbath, 1595. 

The King's Secretary 

The development of the highly organised and centralised Tudor monarchy 
involved an increase in the importance, of the executive, and this is re- 
flected in the history of the office of King's Secretary — the ancestor of 
the modern Secretary of State. Under the Tudors government begins to be 
confronted with modern problems and to adopt modern vrays of dealing 
with them. These new developments are assigned, not to the older depart- 
ments, the functions of which had become stereotyped, but to an officer 
whose duties had never been subjected to strict definition. Thus local govern- 
ment, trade and plantations, Ireland, and diplomacy abroad fell to the 
Principal Secretary to the King, who also acted as Secretary to the Council; 
for although the King was chiefly responsible it was through the Secretary 
that he was accustomed to act. 

In the Middle Ages^ the King's Secretary appears as an official of con- 
siderable importance, but always as a private Household officer, paid out of 
the Household funds, and performing his duties of letter-writing close to 
the person of the King. He is really a confidential clerk, although a clerk 
who is charged with important functions. And inasmuch as in early times 
the writer of official letters always sealed them, the King's Secretary had the 
custody of the King's Privy Seal. But there was a tendency for seals which 
had been private and miscellaneous to become public and specialised, and in 
time the privy seal became a public seal in charge of a great officer called 
the Lord Privy Seal, while the King's Secretary used another private seal 
called the signet. As early as the reign of Edward II there was a secret seal 
besides the privy seal, and although the keeper of the privy seal did not at 
once cease to be the King's Secretary, the letters of privy seal were ceasing 
to be the King's private letters and the privy seal was becoming an instrument 
of state, like the great seal. William of Wykeham, appointed in 1364, was 
probably the last fourteenth century keeper of the privy seal who was also 
King's Secretary*; and by the reign of Richard II the signet had replaced 
the privy seal for all purposes connected with the private correspondence 
of the King. In 1433 a second Secretary appears as 'the King's Secretary in 
his realm of France,' an appointment probably due to the difficulties of 
language in connexion with the correspondence arising out of the French 
wars. By an Order in Council of 1443 definite responsibility was assigned 
to the King's Secretary for the use of die signet in preparing letters author- 
ising the affixing of the privy seal to ropl grants^; and in 1536 this was 
extended and confirmed by 'An Act concerning Clerks of the Signet and 
Privy Seal,'* which provided that any grants made under any of the King's 
seals should be first brought to the King's Principal Secretary or to one of 
the clerks of the signet 'to be at the said office of the signet passed accord- 

1 On the early history of the King's Secretary, see Sir Harris Nicolas, Observa- 
iiom on the Office of Secretary of State, ... and Miss L. B. Dibben in E.H.R. xxv, 430. 

2 E.H.R. xxv, 437. 3 Anson, 11, i, 159. * 27 Henr. VIII, c. 11. 


Jngly.' Thus the Secretary acquired and retained definite responsibility for 
the official expression of the royal will. 

At the beginning of his reign Henry VII appointed Richard Fox King's 
Secretary and re-appointed Stephen Tryon his Secretary of the French 
Language. In 1487 Fox became Bishop of Exeter and resigned the Secretary- 
ship, but one of his successors, Thomas Ruthall, although made Bishop of 
Durham in 1509, continued to be King's Secretary until 151 6. These pro- 
ceedings shew that although the office involved nothing of the nature of 
ministerial responsibility, it was becoming one of high consideration, to be 
filled by important men. 

When Oliver King was appointed in 1476 Secretary for the French 
Language for life, he was described, like his English colleague, as 'the King's 
First and Principal Secretary's thus the term 'Principal' does not necessarily 
imply that a Principal Secretary was chief of the King's Secretaries, but that 
he was chief of his own staff of subordinates. One secretary is not 'principal' 
in relation to the other, but both are 'principal' in relation to their respective 
staffs. In 1549 a further addition was made to the number of secretaries 
when Peter Vannes was appointed Latin Secretary for life, but he was not 
a 'Principal Secretary' in the technical sense. This is the office which 
Milton afterwards held. 

In or about 1540 a curious experiment in reorganisation was attempted. 
By a royal warrant of April of that year [p. 206] the office of English 
Secretary was divided between Thomas Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler. They 
both bore the same title, having 'the name and office of the King's Majesty's 
Principal Secretaries'; were entrusted with duplicate signets; kept two 
journals, which were open to each other's inspection; were both lodged in 
the King's palace; and were entitled, when the Lord Privy Seal was at 
Court, 'to accompany him at his table.' It was also provided that they 
should sit in alternate weeks, one in the House of Lords and the other 
in the House of Commons. No definite date can be assigned to this 
experiment, for it is possible that the royal warrant of 1540 only gave 
official confirmation to an arrangement which already existed in practice, 
for Sadler was conducting the royal correspondence at least as early as July, 
1538. Nor is it known whether the experiment succeeded in spite of the 
dangers of divided responsibility; but there were two Principal Secretaries 
until the accession of Mary. During her reign and for the earlier part of the 
reign of Elizabeth there was only one Secretary, but soon after Cecil, now 
Lord Burghley, became Lord Treasurer, he was succeeded in 1573 by Sir 
Francis Walsingham and Sir Thomas Smith acting jointly. On Davison's 
disgrace in 1587 the Queen did not appoint a successor, and there seems to 
have been only one Secretary for the rest of the reign^. Thus the number of 
Principal Secretaries and their relation to each other was not during the 
Tudor period definitely fixed, either by regulation or constitutional practice. 
The modern title of the office, Secretary of State, does not appear until 
1 60 1, and then for a few years in the earlier form, 'Secretary of Estate.' 

^ On Walsingham's death in 1590, Robert Cecil, Lord Burghley's son, after- 
wards Earl of Salisbury, became acting Secretary, but his patent of appointment to 
the office of Principal Secretary was not granted until 1 596. On Dr John Herbert's 
position as 'second Secretary' see p. 212 below; 


During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there continued to be as 
a rule! two Secretaries of State, and when the Cabinet displaced the Council 
as the executive government early in the eighteenth century, the Secretaries 
became great officers of state with large public responsibilities. But in 
the Tudor period no such public responsibility attached to the office. It is 
true that after the reign of Henry VIII the Secretary ceased to be a House- 
hold officer, and his salary no longer appears upon the Household accounts^; 
but his sole duty was to the Sovereign, and he owed no respect to the con- 
stitution apart from the King. Although the Secretary was the only channel 
through which the Crown could be approached or the King's pleasure con- 
veyed, he had nothing to do with the royal decisions. Henry VIII read his 
own letters and dictated the answers himself [p. 211]; and affairs of a very 
secret nature he did not trust to his Secretary at all [p. 211]. Nevertheless it 
was out of this that the modern office grew, and 'the King's Secretary, from 
being little more than the clerical instrument for conveying his Sovereign's 
commands, has become one of the most influential ministers of state, whose 
signature is absolutely requisite to legalise nearly every act of the Crown; 
whose authority to use the King's name cannot be disputed by any one except 
the King himself; who is answerable with his liberty and life to Parliament 
for the constitutional and judicious exercise of the prerogatives of the Crown; 
and who, in the present distribution of the office among. . .individuals of 
co-ordinate authority, performs most of the functions of government with 
all but undefinable powers and unlimited authority.'^ 

In the Tudor period the stipend of the Secretary was small [p. 210], and 
Walsingham spent his private fortune in an efficient discharge of the duties 
of his office; but under James I large allowances, over and above the stipend, 
were made 'for intelligence and other secret services,' and there were various 
perquisites and fees*. 

(i) Act of Precedence, 1539 

That the office of King's Secretary no longer occupied the comparatively 
humble position assigned to it in the Middle Ages appears from | 6 of the 
Act, which provides for the precedence of the Secretary when he is already 
either a Lord of Parliament or a Bishop. 

An Act for the placing of the Lords in Parliament 
Forasmuch as in all great councils and congregations of 
men having sundry degrees and offices in the commonwealth it 

1 The exceptions were in 1616, 1707-46, and 1768-82, when there were three 
(Anson, 11, i, 161). 

2 It was not until 1 578 that the Principal Secretary was regularly appointed by 
patent, although the Secretaries for the French and Latin languages had always been so 
appointed. Hewasoriginallydesignated by the delivery of the King's signet,not neces- 
sarily recorded, or performed before witnesses (Nicolas, The Office of Secretary, 
P- 44)- 

3 Nicolas, The Office of Secretary, p. 48. 

* The emoluments of the Secretaries of State in the seventeenth century are 
fully discussed in E.H.R. xixv, 513-28. 


is very requisite and convenient that an order should be had and 
taken for the placing and sitting of such persons as be bound to 
resort to the same, to the intent that they knowing their places 
may use the same without displeasure or let of the Council; 
Therefore the King's most royal Majesty, although it apper- 
taineth unto his prerogative royal to give such honour, reputation, 
and placing to his counsellors and other his subjects as shall be 
seeming to his most excellent wisdom, is nevertheless pleased and 
contented for an order to be had and taken in this his most high 
Court of Parliament. . . . 

VI. And it is alsoenacted by authority aforesaid that the King's 
Chief Secretary being of the degree of a Baron of Parliament 
shall sit and be placed afore and above all Barons not having any 
of the offices aforementioned; and if he be a Bishop, that then he 
shall sit and be placed above all other Bishops not having any of 
the offices above remembered. 

VIII. And it is further enacted that if any person or persons 
which at any time hereafter shall happen to have any of the said 
offices of Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord President of the 
King's Council, Lord Privy Seal, or Chief Secretary, shall be 
under the degree of a Baron of the Parliament, by reason whereof 
they can have no interest to give any assent or dissent in the said 
House, that then in every such case such of them as shall happen 
to be under the said degree of a Baron shall sit and be placed at 
the uppermost part of the sacks in the midst of the said Parlia- 
ment Chamber^, either there to sit upon one form or upon the 
uppermost sack, the one of them above the other in order as is 
above rehearsed. 

* # * * * * ' 

X. And it is enacted by authority aforesaid that as well in all 
Parliaments as in the Star Chamber, and in all other assemblies 
and conferences of Council, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord 
Treasurer, the Lord President, the Lord Privy Seal, the Great 
Chamberlain, the Constable, the Marshal, the Lord Admiral, the 
Grand Master or Lord Steward, the King's Chamberlain, and the 
King's Chief Secretary, shall sit and be placed in such order and 
fashion as is above rehearsed and not in any other place, by 
authority of this present Act. 

31 Henr. VIII, c. 10: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 729. 

1 At this time the Lords sat in the Parliament Chamber, where the Commons 
also sometimes appeared (see p. 542 below). 


(2) Warrant for the appointment of two Secretaries, 1540 

The precedence assigned to the Secretaries by this warrant, although it 
varies from that given them by the Act of Precedence of 1539 [p. 204], 
is the same as that since held by Secretaries of State when below the 
rank of peers^- Wriothesley was knighted in 1 540 soon after his appointment, 
and eventually became Earl of Southampton. Sadler was knighted in 1542. 

First, that Thomas Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler, and every 
of them, shall have the name and office of the King's Majesty's 
Principal Secretaries during his Highness's pleasure; and shall 
receive, to be equally divided between them, all such fees, droits, 
duties, and commodities, not hereafter specially limited, as have, 
do, or ought to belong to the office of his Majesty's Principal 

Item^ his Highness hath resolved that every of the said 
Thomas Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler shall, for the time of their 
being in the said office, have and keep two his Grace's seals called 
his signets, and with the same seal all such things, warrants, and 
writings, both for inward and outward parties, as have been ac- 
customed to be passed heretofore by the same; every of the said 
Thomas Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler nevertheless to keep a 
book containing all such things as shall pass by either of their 
hands, and the one to be made ever privy to the other's register. 

Item, his Majesty is contented that every of the said Thomas 
Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler shall have an ordinary chamber or 
lodging within the gates of his Grace's house, in all places where 
the same may be, conveniently furnished; and every of them to 
have like bouche of court^ in all things as is appointed to the 

Item, his Majesty is pleased and ordaineth, that all such 
times as the Lord Privy Seal shall be present in the Court, the 
said Thomas Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler shall accompany him 
at his table; and when he shall be absent out of Court, then they 
to have his diet for themselves and such other as be appointed to 
that table. 

Item, his Majesty ordaineth that in all Councils, as well in 
his Majesty's Household as in the Star Chamber and elsewhere, 
all Lords, both of the temporalty and clergy, shall sit above 
them; and likewise the Treasurer, Comptroller, Master of the 
Horse, and Vice-Chamberlain of his Highness's Household; then 
next after to be placed the said Principal Secretaries, and so after 
them all such other Councillors as shall resort and have place in 

1 Nicolas, The Office of Secretary, p. 37. * See pp. 207-8 below. 


any of the said Councils. And albeit that by a statute lately 
made^, the office of the Principal Secretary should be and sit 
continually in the Upper House of the Parliament upon one of 
the woolsacks, yet his Highness, considering the good service 
that the said Thomas Wriothesley and Ralph Sadler may do him 
in the Nether House, where they have now places, doth ordain 
that during his pleasure they shall use themselves as hereafter 
ensueth; that is to say, on all such days as the Speaker shall be 
present, or that the King's Majesty shall be present in person, 
they shall attend on his Highness, and shall both have their 
places upon the said woolsack according to the said statute; and 
at all other times the one of them to be one week in the High 
House and the other in the Low House, and so he that was in 
the Lower House to be the next week in the Higher House, 
changing their places by course, unless it be upon some special 
day for matters to be treated in the Nether House, at which time 
they shall may^ both be present there accordingly; and in all 
other places within his Grace's Household and elsewhere his 
pleasure is that theyand everyof them shall have, enjoy, and use the 
place of Principal Secretary as heretofore hath been accustomed. 

State Papers (1830-52), ii, 623. 

(3) Status of the Secretary 

The position of the Secretary in the official hierarchy is indicated by 
the extracts from the Ordinances for the Royal Household which follow. 
See also the Act of Precedence of 1539 printed on p. 204 above. 

I. Ordinances made at Eltham, 1526 
[BoucHE OF Court] 

The Secretary and two Vice Chamberlains 
Every of them being lodged within the Court, in the morning, 
one cheat^ loaf, one manchet^, one gallon ale; for afternoon, one 
manchet, one gallon ale; for after supper, one cheat loaf, one 
manchet, one gallon ale, half pitcher wine; and from the last day 
of October unto the first day of April, three links by the week; 
by the day, one pricket*, two sizes^, half pound white lights, four 
talshides*, four faggots . . . and from the last day of March unto 
the first day of November to have the moiety of the said wax, 

^ The Act of Precedence of 1 539: see p. 204 above. 

* See note on p. 24 above. 

* 'Cheat' is wheaten bread of the second quality, as contrasted with 'manchet,' 
which was of the finest quality. * Candlestick. 

^ A kind of candle specially used at court and in churches. 

* Wood for cutting into billets. 


white lights, wood, and coals; which doth amount unto in money 
by the year the sum oi £21. ys. iid.. . .(p. 162). 

2. BoUCHE OF COURT^ C. 1^44 


The two Secretaries^ to sit in their own chamber, and to be 
served with their own servants from all offices; and to have from 
the Kitchen one double mess and one single; and to have one 
mess for their supper every Friday at night out of Lent and every 
Saturday within Lent (p. 172). 
. , . The first mess to the Secretaries, with the 

charge of supper ... ... ... ^£'^06 10 3I 

//(?»?, their second mess ... ... ^£,^06 8 9I 

(p. 192) 
. . . The King's Secretary, being lodged within the Court, stab- 
ling for 8 horses, and 3 beds [for his servants]*.. . .(p. 198). 

The increase of charges in the Household by commandment 
since the receiving of the King's Book of the Ordinary of his 
most honourable Household. . . . Item, the bouche of court served 
to the two Secretaries. . .;^33 19 i . . .(pp. 208, 210). 

Ordinances of the Royal Household (Society of Antiquaries, 1790). 

3. Queen Elizabeth's Annual Expense, 
Civil AND Military, c. 1578 

The extracts here given shew the stipends and allowances of other great person- 
ages, as well as those of the Secretaries. Thus they furnish a standard for estimating 
their importance, and indicate the method of payment, partly in money and pardy 
in kind. 

(p. 241) 

The Lord Chancellor ... fee 

For his attendance in the Star Chamber 
More, by the names of annuities 
Robes out of the Wardrobe ... 
Wine out of the Butlerage, 1 2 tuns . . . 

1 The allowance of victual granted to the Court. On the probable date of this 
document, which is printed as if it were part of the Ordinances of Eltham of 1526, 
see State Papers, ii, p. 623 ». 

2 Presumably the King's Secretary and the Secretary for the French language. 
» The charges varied from £1520. 12s. ^d. for 'the King's diet by the year' to 

;£66. js. $y. for the ' Chirurgeons,' who had only one mess. 

* The same as was allowed to Privy Councillors and to the Vice-Chamberlain. 
A Duke was allowed stabling for 24 horses and beds for 9 servants, and a Bishop for 
16 and 6. 








Master of the Rolls; fee out of the Exchequer 
Livery out of the Hanaper^ ... 
Wine, one tun ... 

(p. 242) 
The Privy Seal: The Keeper thereof; fee ... 

The King^s Bench 
Lord Chief Justice of England; fee, reward, 
and robes ... 
Wine, 2 tuns at £^ the tun 
Allowance for being Justice of Assize... 
Justices, le piece^, 3; fee, reward, and robes 
Allowance as Justices of Assize 

The Common Pleas 

Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas: fee, 
reward, and robes ... 
Wine, 2 tuns ... 
Allowance as Justice of Assize 
Fee for keeping the Assize in the Aug- 
mentation Court (see p. 336 below) 
Justices, 3, to every of them: fee, reward, and 
Allowance as Justices of Assize 
Attorney-General: fee 

Allowance as Justice of Assize 
Solicitor: fee 

The Council in the North 

Lord President : diet for himself aijd. the rest 

of the Council ... ... ... 1000 



















0. , 













0. . 




0. , 

Councillors, 7 : fee apiece ... ... 50 

The Council in Wales and the Marches. . . 

Lord President: fee, and diet for himself and 

the rest of the Council ... ... 1040 

Councillors, divers : To some ... 
To some ... 
To some ... 

^ A department of the Chancery which received fees for the sealing and enrolling 
of documents. ^ Apiece. 

T. D. 14 




0. , 



























(p- 243) 

Justices of Oyer- and Terminer 
From Trent, southward : fee 
From Trent, northward: fee 

The Exchequer. . . 
Lord High Treasurer of England : fee 

Robes out of the Wardrobe ... 
Chancellor of the Exchequer : fee . . . 

Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer : fee . 


Allowance for being Justice of Assize. 
Barons of the Exchequer, 3 : fee 

Livery, apiece ... 

Allowance as Justice of Assize 

(p. 250) 
The Queen's Court or Household. . 
Principal Secretary : fee, and a table 
Secretary in the Latin tongue : fee, and a table 
Secretary in the French tongue : fee 
Clerk of the Council in the Star Chamber: fee 
Clerks of the Parliament, 2 : 

To the one 

To the other ... 
Clerks of the Privy, Council, 4: fee apiece... 

.(p. 257). 
Other Rewards and Allowances 
Chirurgeons, 6: 

To two apiece ... 

To two apiece ... 

To two apiece... 
Physicians, 3 : fee apiece 
Apothecaries, 3 : fee apiece ... 
Astronomer: fee 
Serjeant Painter and other toliis appointment 

ICC •■• •■■ ... ,., ,, 

Keeper of the Libraries : fee per diem 
Master of Requests : fee 

Ordinances of the Royal Household (Society of Antiquaries, 1790). 

100 O O 
40 O O 
66 13 4 






0. . 


0. . 

60 o o 
30 o o 












(4) The Secretary's relation to the King 

The following extracts shew that the Secretary took no political respon- 
sibility, but was only a channel of communication for the King's pleasure. 
Henry VIII in particular reserved all important decisions to himself, and 
Elizabeth, although she set store by the advice of Burghley and Walsingham, 
did not always consult them. 

I. Henry VIII to TFohey, 151 8 

My Lord Cardinal, I recommend unto you as heartily as I 
can, and I am right glad to hear of your good health, which I pray 
God may long continue; so it is that I have received your letters, 
to the which (because they ask long writing) I have made answer 
by my Secretary: two things there be which be so secret that they 
cause me at this time to write to you myself. . . . 

State Papers (1830-52), i, i. 

2. Richard Pace to Wolsey, 29 October, 1^21 

Richard Pace had been appointed King's Secretary in 15 16, in succession to 
Thomas Ruthall, Bishop of Durham. He was made Dean of St Paul's in 15 19 and 
Dean of Exeter in 1522, but he retained the office of Secretary until 1526. 

... I never rehearsed your Grace's letters, diminutely or 
fully, but by the King's express commandment, who readeth all 
your letters with great diligence, and mine answers made to the 
same not by my device but by his instructions. And as for one of 
my letters. . .1 had at that time devised a letter in the same 
matter far discrepant from that ye received; but the King would 
not approve the same, and said that he would himself devise an 
answer to your Grace's letters sent to him at that time; and com- 
manded me to bring your said letters into his privy chamber, 
with pen and ink, and there he would declare unto me what I 
should write. And when his Grace had your said letters, he read 
the same three times, and marked such places as it pleased him 
to make answer unto, and commanded me to write and to re- 
hearse as liked him, and not further to meddle with that answer. 
So that I herein nothing did but obeyed the King's command- 
ment as to my duty appertaineth, and especially at such time as 
he would upon good grounds be obeyed, whosoever spake to the 
contrary. As touching untrue information to be made by me to 
the, King of your Grace's letters, I am sorry ye do lay that to my 
charge, for if I did untruly inform his Highness of any part of 
the same letters which be of so great weight and importance, I 
should not only deal unkindly and falsely with your Grace but 
also be a manifest traitor to the King. . . . Furthermore, if I would 



nform the Ki ng otherwise of your Grace's letters than the truth 
is, I could not so do without great shame and to mine own evident 
ruin, for his Grace doth read them all himself, and examine the 
same at leisure with great deliberation, and hath better wit to 
understand them than I to inform him. . . , 

State Papers (1830-52), i, 79. 

(5) Duties of the Secretary 

The variety and range of the duties of the Secretary are suggested by the follow- 
ing memorandum, written for his own guidance by Dr John Herbert, who was 
appointed second Secretary^ in 1600. 

Dr John Herbert's Memorandum, 26 April, 1600 

Titles of matters whereof I am charged to have regard as a 
Councillor and Secretary. 

First, to inform myself of all treaties with foreign princes, 
France, Burgundy and the Low Countries, Spain, Scotland, Den- 
mark, and the Hanses, etc. 

To be acquainted with the particular actions and negotiations 
of ambassadors to her Majesty and from her. ' 

To inform myself of the power and form of proceeding at the 
Council of the Marches in Wales and the Council in the North, 
and to understand the manner of the Warden's^ government. 

To be well informed of the state of Ireland, both the yearly 
charge of the army and the extraordinary, the state of revenue 
there, and the state of the undertakers^. 

The charge of the Low Country wars, the charges of the 
French King, the state of their debts to the Queen, what the 
assurances are and where they are. 

To oversee the order of the Council-book and Muster-book 
of the realm. 

To have the custody of letters from foreign princes to the 
Queen, and answers made to them. 

To have care to the intelligences abroad. . . . 

[For the remainder of this memorandum, which refers to the business of the 
Council, see p. 247 below.] State Papers {Domestic), Eli%. cclxxiv, 118. 

1 A warrant of 17 May, 1600, refers to him as 'late Master of Requests, now 
admitted second Secretary,' and orders two new signets of gold for him and two 
signets for the Principal Secretary, 'the others having become unserviceable from 
long use' {Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, Eliz. 1 598-1601, p. 437). The 
Principal Secretary here referred to is Sir Robert Cecil. 

'2 Presumably the Lord Warden of the Marches of Scotland, who had charge of 
the Border. 

3 The English families who had taken over the confiscated lands in Munster 
after the attainder of the Earl of Desmond in 1586. 

The Privy Council 

li£42i§£S^i*«£4lS»'X4ids£,.C^^ relation to the Council of the 

Lancastrians on the one hand, ancl' to the Star Chamber on the othe^gj^is 
d ifficult and obgcure. This is partly due to a want of clearness and continuity 
in tne record 'I 'he 'Book of the Council' contains a register for the period 
1421-35, but it was then either discontinued or lost^. Even for this period 
of iifteen years it consists of copies or abridgments of the more important 
Council minutes only, and is not a complete record of the whole of its pro- 
ceedings^. In 1487 the 'Book of Entries' (Liber Intrationum) was begun, 
but this also disappeared in the eighteenth century, and its contents are only 
known from notes and extracts made by antiquarians before the disappear- 
ance took place. It was not until August 10, 1540, that a more complete 
Council Register was begun, and this continues down to the present time. 
It is, however, only a book" of 'conclusions' and not a full record of all 
matters that came before the Council, for questions of high policy were 
often reserved for the decision of the Sovereign, or were settled by inner 
circles of advisers, and so do not appear in the Register at all^. It is also the 
case that gaps occur in the series of records, as certain volumes are missing 
and have never been traced*. Thus the student of the history of the Council 
works under difficulties, and some of the conclusions arrived at have only a 
provisional character. 

The reason for the failure of the Lancastrian Council had been its ex- 
ploitation by the great nobles. It was largely concerned with the dispensation 
of royal patronage, and the great lords had selfishly appropriated the royal 
resources for the benefit of themselves and their dependents. Thus when 
Fortescue, Henry VI's Chief Justice, who was fully alive to the abuses of the 
system with which he was familiar, sketched the ideal Council, he proposed 
to exclude the great nobles in favour of expert officials chosen entirely be- 
cause of their business capacity. 'The King's Council,' he says^, 'was wont 
to be chosen of great princes and of the greatest lords of the land, both 
spirituals and temporals, and also of other men that were in great authority 
and offices, which lords and officers had near hand also* many matters of 
their own to be treated in the Council as had the King. Wherethrough, when 
they came together, they were so occupied with their own matters, and the 

1 Baldwin, pp. 391,419. The author takes the view that there was not a loss of 
records, as has been commonly supposed, but that they failed for lack of material, 
due to a partial suspension of the activities of the Council during the reigns of Ed- 
ward IV, Edward V, and Richard III (pp. 419-22). 

2 /i. p. 391. 

* Dasent, ix, p. xxvi and xiv, p. ix. 

* There is a tradition that the Registers for 1603-12 were destroyed in the fire 
at Whitehall, January 12, 1619. It has also been suggested that some of the Council 
Registers were among the papers burned by Charles I, to prevent their falling into the 
hands of the Parliament, when he left Oxford for the North in 1646 (Dasent, i, p. ix). 

5 ch. XV. * Near hand also = almost as. 


matters of their kin, servants, and tenants, that they attended but little and 
otherwhile nothing to the King's matters. . . . Ana what lower man was 
there sitting in that Council that durst say against the opinion of any of the 
great lords?' He also complains that nothing treated of in Council could be 
kept secret, 'for the lords oftentimes told their own counsellors and servants 
that had sued to them for those matters, how they had sped in them and who 
was against them'; and that a council of great personages cannot be de- 
pended upon to conserve the resources of the Crown. ' How may the King 
be counselled to restrain giving away of his land, of giving of offices, corro- 
dies, or pensions of abbeys, by such great lords to other men's servants, since 
they most desire such gifts for themselves and their servants.?' To remedv 
these abuses Fortescue suggested the establishment of a new Council con- 
sisting of 'twelve spiritual men and twelve temporal men, of the wisest and 
best disposed men that can be found in all the parts of this land'; they are to 
be sworn to take 'no fee, nor clothing, nor no rewards' of any but the King; 
and they are to have a permanent tenure unless the King by the advice of 
the majority of the Council sees fit to remove them. To these are to be added 
as temporary councillors 'four lords spiritual and four lords temporal' to be 
chosen every year by the King; but these members 'need not to have great 
wages for their attendance,' so there was no special inducement for them to 
come to the Council. It was also suggested that the great officers of state, 'as 
Chancellor, Treasurer, and Privy Seal' might attend 'when they list come 
^thereto, or that they be desired by the said councillors'; and that 'the Judges, 
the Barons of the Exchequer, the Clerk of the Rolls, and such lords as the 
foresaid councillors will desire to be with them for matters of great difficulty, 
may be of this Council when they be so desired, and else not.' The business 
assigned to the Council was to 'commune and deliberate upon the matters of 
difficulty that fall to the King, and then upon the matters of the policy of the 
realm. • ..How also the laws may be amended in such things as they need 
reformation in; wherethrough the Parliaments 4hall mowe* do more good 
in a month to the mending of the law than they(shall moweMo in a year, 
if the amending thereof be not debated and by such Council riped to their 
hands.' Articles 'for the demeaning and rule of this Council' were to be 'put 
in a book, and that book kept in this Council as a register or an ordinary^, 
how they shall do in everything.' 

A scheme based on the exclusion of baronial influence from the Council 
was not likely to succeed in Lancastrian conditions, and so little is known 
of the Council under Edward IV, that it is impossible to say whether any 
attempt was made to carry it out. But in all its main feature* Fortescue's 
plan is an anticipation of the Tu^^Council. Eng^land was npw to be gov- 
erne d ' not jhrough peers of anciMnS^p^\bul.t¥rougii!'the,'^.i 

sanHr^l'he only strikmg difference is in the appointment and removal of 
co^ncillors. Fortescue had proposed that unless for 'any default found in 
them' they should only be dismissed with the asseqt of a majority of their 

1 See note on p/i^^ye, 2 J.e. as a boot of rules or precedents. 

* Dicey, p. 86. 




Jete control over the 

colleagues; but the Tudor sovereigns asserted comp] 

ThfTrh^ri ^e in the relations betwee n the Crown the ^o^^^J^pnel 
of the fu ndamental c onstituHomnScte'^rt^gl^rvSlQS^^^ his! 

CoundTtKe cKoicT^^'me'itmm&'^^W "^ 

lad D&en EfeeTn*^theory but 
limited in practice. Important officials, like the Marshal and the Chamber- 
lain, could not very well be passed over, and some of these offices were 
hereditary in certain families. The twoj\rchbishops claimed a prescriptive 
right to be present at all Councils^; and since certain offices, the chief of 
which was the Chancellorship, could only be filled by ecclesiastics, by reason 
of their superior education and fitness, ^%^:imj^^,,^,,s,,^l^iai,£aiii»'^^ 

)ut often a great moependent potentate. Further, Parliament would 
sometimes intervene, claiming, as under Hei^gj^^^p^jJtJ^j^. CouncH sh^jlld 
be nominated that wasjaCEfiB^M&tp Parliament: itself appomting the Coun- 
cil of Henry vis mmority; and weiif^ cc ; mp amafi|: ^,tj^^^ to take the 
Council's advice„But if the medievarCouncil "" "'"-""'**"•• "^ 

___^__^ acted as a checlc upon the 

King, and had sometimes become his master, the Tudor Council is the King's^ 
sl ave; Tha^Jaev- t^^ jiechan^ejs die hufaili J Hg ^ l!f ^^^^iM*#e 1 
gro wdi p f ^ Afi .Q£M?^offi^lF^xl^.]"3^ ^^ fyovernmCTLiTrs' now^^^g I 

advisers, which had always been free in name, becomes alsorree in fact^He 

is """an^ipa^lidiJfeWii thflnilH ttflMi'itlfo ^"^ ^^'^ ^'^ '^'^ Council with 'scan?^"* 
born gentlemen.' Nor is he anylonger limited to ecclesiastics in his choice of 
competent clerks and diplomatists, for he can find laymen who are at least 
equally efficient. Thus in the Tudor period certain great offices cease to be 1 
a monopoly of the Church*. T Qie ^vernme nt of En^and was transfejKd 
fro m the men of a nci||^ |il;.lina ifle!^fio coS arousing 

the hostility oi^ me great houses with which they were connected by blood 1 
or intermarriage, and passed to ^ea;. jaae Q.ailiiQ.>w.ece .wholly dependent upon , 
»lio '•"YiTI frJ^'"'"^ Thus the indep endence of the Council^digpjeafedj^ and it 
was tran^fffrmp4,^|;^t;y^^^.gf;in777fTR^^ ' 

of the roval wi ll. But asthe^nag^aSk^^ of ,mgCouncil_ diminished, its 
powers increased, for as soon as the councillors came to be dependent upon 



^ In 1536 Henry VIII stated the position in emphatic terms: 'It appertaineth 
nothing to any of our subjects to appoint us our Council, ne will we take it so at 
your hands; wherefore henceforth remember better the duties of subjects to your 
King and Sovereign Lord, and meddle no more of those nor such-like things as ye 
have nothing to do in' {Siaie Papers, ii, 508). 

* Dicey, p. 31- 

* Down to W olsey the Lord Chancellors had usually been ecclesiastics, and except 
for some fourteenth century cases Sir Thomas More was the first layman to hold the 
office; since the deprivation of Nicholas Heath, Archbishop o^ York, soon after Eliza- 
beth's accession, they have always been laymen — ^with the solitary exception of John 
Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, who was Lord Keeper from 1621 to 1625. Until the- 
reign of Henry VIII the Lord Privy Seal was an ecclesiastic; since 1533 he has 
always been a layman, and, except when the office was in commission, he was, until 
Disraeh's appointment in 1876, a temporal lord. The same thing happened with 
the Clerkship to the Parliament, in the Middle Ages a peculiarly clerical office. 


the Crown, it was to the interest of the Crown to enlarge their authority; 

performed its work^. 

TBeTerrh 'Privy Council,' in common use during the Tudor period, 
originates late in the Council's history. As early as the reign of Edward II 
references appear to secretum consilium and privatum consilium, but, as in the 
case of the 'cabinet' later, the words convey a sinister meaning, and they 
are as far as possible avoided in the official documents^. The King might 
summon a secret council for some special purpose, but there was no regular 
institution of the nature of a 'privy' council, and the older consilium regis 
still held its position as the body on whose advice the Crown performed 
public acts. Even the familiar expression 'ordinary councillor' does not ap- 
pear until the reign of Henry VI IP- The term 'privy council' is not em- 
ployed until the reign of Henry VI, probably to emphasise the distinction 
between the inner body of sworn and ,£aid_CQuncillqrs, and those nobles," 
lawyers, and others who were only occasionally summoned*. This view is 
supported by the appearance of special regulations for securing secresy at 
the meetings of the Council, such as the Ordinance of 1426, which refers to 
the 'great inconveniences' ensuing from matters 'spoken and treated in the 
Council having been published and discovered,' and provides that 'from this 
time forward no person ... be suffered to abide in the Council whiles matters 
of the said Council be treated therein, save only those that be sworn unto 
the said Council, but if they be specially called thereto by authority of the 
said Council.'^ 

§ I. Composition and Procedure 

'I'b^jSaHSdLsf jy^s"^?^ ¥XIja«a^!rAtQ.teve been an indeterminate body 
or snifEmg membership, consisting or those persons whom at any particular' 
time hewish^'^to constflt' At -his accession il' cdhsisted'ef 'f 'I^W'ifteSSBers 
only*^bartKfe' numbers soon increased. In i486 those actually present varied 
frona 22 to 33; by 1494 the attendance had risen to 39; and in 1501 there 
were as many as 41'. Besides those whose names are actually recorded, a 
number of men of inferior rank are referred to as et ceteri, and not all those 
present at the Council were sworn members of it. 



temat^It had'long been the cust^^Wp^immf^Ttom^e 
from place to place, and for a number of Councillors to follow in attendance 
jupon hiim, but there were no definite regulations. The Council existed that 
Ht might advise the King, and its proceeding were governed by the King's 
convenience, and not by modern considerations of mechanical regularity. 
In 1^6, however, the King, possibly influenced by the increasing volume 
of busings at Westminster, which pointed to a division of labour, included 
in the Ordinances for the Household issued in that year an 'establishment 

1 Prothero, p. ci.. « Baldwin, p. ro5. s li. p. ri4. 

* Dicey, p. 43. b /^_ p ^ 

« Henry VII's first Council consisted of five peers, two bishops, and nine other 
members (Baldwin, p. 43 5). ' /i. p. 436. 


of a Council' [p. 220]. This provided for a Council of twenty 'honourable, 
virtuous, sad, wise, expert, and discreet persons.' Of thfese, ten were re- 
quired to 'give their" continual attendance' 'unto what place soever his 
Highness shall resort,' and the other ten remained in London to transact 
that part of the Council business, and especially the judicial business, which 
could be most conveniently dealt with in the capital. The Council of twenty 
named in the Ordinances contained a large majority of officials^. The 
spiritual peers were represented by Cardinal Wolsey, and the Bishops of 
London, Lincoln, and Bath. The two parts of the Council were always in 
close correspondence, and sometimes they" were reunited and sat as a single 
body. The first was known as the ' Council at Court' and the other as the 
'King's Council in the Star Chamber,' but the term 'privy council' might be 
applied to both^. The limitation of the number of sworn privy councillors 
to twenty, did hot prevent the summoning on occasion of 'ordinary coun- 
cillors,' also sworn of the King's Council, but not of the Privy Council, and 
the judges and serjeants-at-law, who were not sworn of the Council, but 
were summoned to atteiid when legal help was required. The preponderance 
on the Council of t he ne w official clas§jiKbQ^S!!!gfe^sup&fs^Rn|*tI^ 
nobles m the worlT ot'admTnistration was attacked by the insurgents in the 
Pilgrii^grtrt*iGHcrSr|'^rTK^'&ffi^^^^^^^ the King ^iakes of his 

Counciran3Tias*aiEiout him persons of low birth and small reputation,' and 
some of them bound themselves by an oath 'to expulse all villain blood from 
the King's Grace and his Privy Council, for the common wealth and restor- 
ing of Christ's Church.' ^ 

Until 1540 the materials for the history of the Council are scanty and 
difficult of interpretation, but in that year the new Council Register was 
begun and a clerk was appointed to keep it. This 'Book of the Council' was 
a record of the proceedings of that part of it only which tollowe3TRe"Kihg's 
pereoiij^but its existence removes much of the uncerfiainly which had hitherto 
perpIexeJ historians. Thus in August, 1540, when the new Register begins, 
the Council numbered nineteen*, of whom no less than fifteeffWere'offieiials, 
nine oFtKese'Tfiifteen being great officers of state^. 

■ UndeFE3waf3"VI the size of "ffie'Councir was much increased. In 1553 
the young KingdrevTup 'A Method for the Proceedings in the Councils' 
[p. 221], which provided for a Council of forty persons. Of these, ten were 
great nobles; five were non-official members of a different kind — the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, two bishops, and two judges; fifteen were commoners 
of the official class; and the remaining ten were great officers of state. Thus, 
as under Henry VIII, the officials we re in a clear major ity. This increase in 
the size of the Councirinvotved a change in the method of its procedure, 

^ See p. 220 below. * Baldwin, p. 448. 

8 Letters and Papers, He/try VIII, xi, no. 892. 

* The reason why the number is not the prescribed twenty is that the Lord 
Steward was also at that time Lord President of the Council, and served in a double 

* The four non-official members were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl 
of Hertford (afterwards the Protector Somerset), and the Bishops of Durham and 
Winchester, both eminent for their knowledge of the civil and canon law (Nicolas, 
vii, p. ix). 


commission ofien 'for hearing of those suits which were wont to be brought 
to tT^°^oIe"Board'; (2) a commission of eleven for 'the calling of forfeits 
done against the laws,' and punishing breaches of proclamations; (3) a 
commission of twenty-one 'for the state,' on which the King himself was to 
sit; (4) a commission of seven to investigate the state of the Courts and to 
consider finance; and (5) a commission of three 'for the bulwarks.' This 
assignment of duties is followed by regulations as to procedure, but these are 
on the lines already laid down by earlier sovereigns. 

At the accession of Mary the membership of the Council rose to forty- 
four, and of these a large proportion held no office, and were quite without 
experience^. A further specialisation of duties took place, and no less than 
ten 3 committees of Council were formed [p. 224]. Of these, four were con- 
cerned, directly or indirectly, with finance, and one was 'to consider what 
laws shall be established in this Parliament, and to name men that shall 
make the books thereof; but the objects of all ten committees had a teki- 
porary character. 

Elizabeth's first Council consi ste d of eighteen members only, but t he 
subdiyi^ i on of busmess am ong committees persisted. In i';«;o nve com mittees 
were set up ["p. 224 j, but these were all temporary; although one of thenij 
'for consideration of all things necessary for the Parliament,' carries on-ftoiM 
Mary's reign a piece of machinery that might very well be found of per- 
manent value. Organisation by committees was s o flexible that it co uld be 
easily adapted toTn^ varying rieeids'or^fferSTrttm^ 

Those m^Jbeig,a;^g^i;g,,ljjSEeyc^^ 
to them aiTratnof secresy and allegiaijjpc:, ifi^ *Sis servedas aniMiSion oi 
the datil'^frebundllor. ThrCounciilor's oath is first referrfed'^W^iSfS, 
and the feaHiest fdrm known is that of 1257*- T'^^ ^°'''" ^^^^ '" ^57° '* 
igiven on p. 225 below. Tj][g o)p|jg ^i,tiini[;i|,flifaitf;'-'gi)r...Jf:qi(fyg4 

: appear until 1497' 
ancient Curia Regis was presided over by the King himself, or in his absence 
by the Justiciar, and when the Justiciar ceased to be a political officer and 
became the head of the Court of King's Bench, his place for this purpose 
was taken by the Chancellor. When Fortescue in his scheme for a Council 
suggested that there should be 'an head or a chief to rule the Council. . . 
chosen by the King, having his office at the King's pleasure, which may then 
be called Capita/is Cmsilarius^ ^ he is probably thinking of the Chancellor, 
who 'when he is present may be president, and have the supreme rule of all 

^ Procedure by committees was not entirely new. On the judicial side the Coun- 
cil had appointed 'committees of examination' to prepare cases as early as the reign 
of Edward III (Baldwin, p. 300). 

^ 'In their counsel there was little wisdom, and in their multitude no safety' 
(Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 95). 

* Or eleven, if the Lord Admiral acting alone counts as a committee. 

* Baldwin, p. 346. 

5 U. p. 445. 

6 p. 146. 


the Council.' 1 The Tudors adopt Fortescue's suggestion of a president, but 
they create a new office for the purposes of the Council only, instead of 
accepting the head of an existing department, in spite of the fact that the 
Chancellor had the tradition of presidency behind him. This is another 
assertion of unfettered sovereign power. 

The office of Clerk to the Council dates from 1405 2. Before that time 
its clerical work was performed by one of the clerks of the privy seal assigned 
for the purpose and receiving extra pay for his services; but when a separate 
and permanent office was created it soon became one of great distinction and 
importance. The permanent salary of the office was only 40 marks a year, 
but this was supplemented by the fees of suitors and other perquisites, and 
as the volume of business increased it became very profitable. In 1483 a 
second Clerk to the Council was appointed^, and in 1527 there was a Clerk 
of the Star Chamber also* (see p. 254 below). As this last official bore the 
title of Clerk of the Council of State, enjoyed a salary of 40 marks, and took 
precedence of the clerks of the Privy Council, he is, in all probability, the 
holder of the office created in 1405. 

In Fortescue's time there was a regular scale of annual payments to 
Councillors dating from the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV — ^£200 for 
a duke or an archbishop, 200 marks for an earl or a bishop, ^lOO for a baron 
or a banneret, and^40 for an esquire^; but these were subject to a fine of 
so much a day for absence from the Council without reasonable cause. The 
Chancellor received ;^200 and the Treasurer 200 marks. Under the Tudors 
salaries were only paid in certain cases, and to men of lower rank; but the 
king rewarded laymen liberally with grants of land and ecclesiastics with 
church preferment*. Another inducement to regular attendance was the 
hospitality of the Court for those Councillors who followed the king's 
person; and the ample breakfasts and dinners occasionally served to the 
Council under the Lancastrians, which had disappeared during the Yorkist 
reigns, were revived by the Tudors^. 

In the thirteenth century the Council usually met in a small upper room 
near the receipt of the Exchequer, but in the reign of Edward III a new 
building was erected for their special use. It was within the precincts of the 
Palace of Westminster near the river bank, conveniently accessible to suitors 
whether they came by water or by land*. The ceiling of the room was 
decorated with stars, and from the first it was called the Star Chamber^. In 
this room most of the proceedings of the Council were taking place at the 
beginning of the Tudor period whenever it met at Westminster, and it con- 
tinued to meet in the starred room from time to time during the reigns of 

1 Fortescue, p. 148; see also p. 300. It had been the case that some particular 
person was occasionally appointed 'chief Councillor,' but he did not necessarily 
preside at the Council, and this title of dignity had little in common with the office 
of President of the Council created by Henry VII (Baldwin, p. 369). 

2 Baldwin, p. 366. * lb. p. 435- 

* lb. p. 449 «. See also Lord Burghley's speech, quoted on p. 250 below. 

* Fortescue, p. 302. * Baldwin, pp. 452-3. '' lb. p. 362. 

* 7i. p. 355; and Stephen, i, 168. 

* For the alternative explanations see pp. 286, 293 below, but these need not 
be seriously considered. 


I Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabethi- In the first instance, 
therefore, the Star Chamber is not a court or a tribunal, but simply a Council 

[room. But the Council often met elsewhere. In the fifteenth century it 
sometimes met at the Black Friars, and also in private houses^. In 1540 it 
met on one occasion at the Duke of Suffolk's house^ and frequently at 
Windsor, Greenwich, and Hampton Court. On 3 February, 1547, the oaths 
to Edward VI were to be taken at the Star Chamber, but the same page in the 
Register refers to a Council Chamber in the Tower*. On 31 January and 
7 February, 1550, the Council sits in the Star Chamber, but on i February 
itmeets 'in the Withdrawing Chamber next to the Parliament Chamber in the 
old Palace.' ^ As part of it followed the King on his royal progresses, meetings 
were also held away from London, wherever the King happened to be®. 

(i) Council Ordinances of Henry VIII, 1526 

. . . QprT^rritetJ'tothe intent that as well matters of justice 
and complaints touching the griefs of the King's subjects and 
disorder of his realm and otherwise which shall fortune to be 
made, brought, and presented unto his Highness by his said sub- 
jects in his demur' or passing from place to place within the same, 
as also other great occurrences concerning his own particular 
affairs, may be the better ordered and with his Grace more ripely 
debated, digested, and resolved from time to time as the case 
shall require; it is ordered and appointed by his Highness that a 
good number of honourable, virtuous, sad, wise, expert, and dis- 
creet persons of his Council shall give their attendance upon his 
most royal person, whose names hereafter follow, that is to say 

[Here follow 20 names, beginning with 'the Lord Cardinal, Chancellor of 
England,' and including the Lord Treasurer, the Keeper of the Privy Seal, the 
Marshal, the Steward of the Household, the Lord Chamberlain, the Treasurer of 
the Household, the Comptroller, the King's Secretary, the Chancellor of the Duchy 
of Lancaster (Sir Thomas More), the Dean of the King's Chapel, the Treasurer of 
the King's Chamber, the Vice-Chamberlain, and the Captain of the Guard. Thus 
out of the total number of 20, no less than 14 are officials.] 

Cap. 75. And forasmuch as the said Lord Cardinal, the Lord 
Treasurer of England, Lord Privy Seal, Lord Steward, and divers 
other lords and personages before mentioned, by reason of their 
attendance at the terms for administration of justice, and exer- 
cising of their offices, and other reasonable impediments, shall 

^ Dasent, />a/«ar. ^ Baldwin, p. 358. * Nicolas, vii, 89. 

* Dasent, ii, 8. * 16. ii, 376, 377, and 385. . 

* For instance, in 1 540 Councils were held successivdy at Reading, Ewelme, 
Rycote, Notley, Buckingham, Grafton, Ampthill, Dunstable, and St Albans. On a 
southern royal progress in 1 541 they were held at Dartford, Rochester, Sittingbourne, 
Canterbury, and Dover (Nicolas, vii passim). 

' Stay, residence. 


many seasons fortune to be absent from the King's Court, and 
specially in the term times; to the intent the King's Highness 
shall not be at any season unfurnished of an honourable presence 
of Councillors about his Grace, with whom his Highness may 
confer upon the premises at his pleasure, it is ordered that the 
persons hereafter mentioned shall give their continual attendance 
in the causes of his said Council unto what place soever his High- 
ness shall resort; that is to say, the Lord Chamberlain, the Bishop 
of Bath, the Treasurer and Comptroller of the King's Household, 
the Secretary, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the 
Dean of the King's Chapel, the Vice-Chamberlain, the Captain of 
the Guard, and for ordering of poor men's complaints and causes, 
Dr Wolman. 

And because, per case, it may chance some of these afore- 
named persons to be absent for. some reasonable cause, be it 
always provided and foreseen that either the Bishop of Bath, the 
Secretary, Sir Thomas More, and the Dean of the Chapel, or two 
of them at the least, always be present, except the King's Grace 
give licence to any of them of the contrary; which said Councillors 
being appointed for continual attendance shall apply themselves 
effectually, diligently, uprightly, and justly in the premises, being 
every day in the forenoon by ten of the clock at the furthest, and 
at afternoon by two of the clock, in the King's Dining Chamber, 
or in such other place as shall fortune to be appointed for the 
Council chamber, there to be in readiness, not only in case the 
King's pleasure shall be to commune or confer with them upon 
any cause or matter, but also for hearing and direction of poor 
men's complaints on matters of justice; which direction well ob- 
served, the King's Highness shall always be well furnished of an 
honourable presence of Councillors about his Grace, as to his 
high honour doth appertain. ... 

Ordinances for the Royal Household (Society of Antiquaries, 
1790}, p. 159. 

(2) Council Ordinances of Edward VI, 1553 

A Method for the Proceedings in the Councils. . . ^ 

The Names of the whole Council 
[Here follow 40 names, beginning with 'the Bishop of Canterbury,' and in- 
cluding the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord 
Admiral, the Lord Chamberlain, ' Mr Comptroller,' ' Mr Treasurer' (of the House- 
hold), 'Mr Vice-Chamberlain,' two King's Secretaries, and 'Mr Solicitor,' as well 
as two other bishops and two judges.] 

1 The first part of the document is written in King Edward's ow;n hand. 



The Councillors above-named to be thus divided into several 
Commissions and Charges 

First. For hearing of those suits which were wont to be 
brought to the whole Board. 

[lo names, including the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Chamberlain, the Bishop of 
London, and two Masters of Requests.] 

Those persons to hear the suits, to answer the parties, to 
make certificate what suits they think meet to be granted; and 
upon answer received of their certificate received to dispatch the 
parties : Also to give full answer of denial to those suits that be not 
reasonable nor convenient: Also to dispatch all matters of justice^ 
and to send to the common courts those suits that be for them. 

[Second.] The calling of forfeits done against the laws, for 
punishing the offenders and breakers of proclamations that now 
stand in force. 

[ii names, including the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Chamberlain, 'Mr Solicitor,' 
and Mr Secretary Petre.] 

These shall first see what laws penal and what proclamations 
standing now in force are most meet to be executed, and shall 
bring a certificate thereof. Then they shall enquire in the countries 
how they are disobeyed, and first shall begin with the greatest 
offenders, and so afterward punish the rest, according to the paihs 
set forth. They shall receive also the letters out of the shires of 
disorders there done, and punish the offenders. 

[Third.] For the State 

[21 names, including 'the Bishop of Canterbury,' the Lord Chancellor, the 
Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Admiral, the Lord Chamberlain, 
' Mr Vice-Chamberlain,' and ' Mr Treasurer and Comptroller.'] 

These to attend to matters of the state. I will sit with them 
once a week to hear the debating of things of most importance. 

[Fourth,] These persons underwritten shall look to the state 
of all the Courts, especially of the new erected Courts, as the 
Augmentation, the First Fruits and Tithes, the Wards; and shall 
see the revenues answered at the half-year's end, and shall consider 
with what superfluous charges they be burdened, and thereof 
shall make a certificate which they shall deliver. 

[7 names, including the Lord Chamberlain and the Bishop of Norwich.] 

I understand it is a member of the Commission that foUoweth, 
but yet those shall do well to do it for the present, because the 
other shall have no leisure till they have called in the debts; after 
which done they may sit with them. 


Those that now be in Commission for the Debts to take ac- 
compts of all payments since the 35th of the King that dead is, 
after that they have done this Commission they are now in hand 

[Fifth.] Likewise for the Bulwarks, the Lord Chamberlain, 
Mr Treasurer, and Mr Comptroller to be in Commission in their 
several jurisdictions. 

The rest of the Council, some go home to their countries 
straight after the Parliament, some be sore sick that they shall 
not be able to attend anything, which when they come they shall 
be admitted of the Council. Also that these Councils sit apart. . . . 

15 January, 1552 [-3] 

Certain Articles devised and delivered by the King's Majesty for the 
quicker, better, and more orderly dispatch of Causes by his Majesty's 

Privy Council 

... 9. That none of them depart his Court for longer than 
two days without there be left here at the least eight of the Council, 
and that not without giving notice thereof to the King's Majesty. 

I o. That they shall make no manner of assembly or meeting 
in Council without there be to the number of four at the least. 

1 1 . Furthermore, if they be assembled to the number of four 
and under the number of six, then they shall reason and debate 
things, examine all inconveniences and dangers and also com- 
modities on each side; make those things plain which seem dif- 
fuse at the first opening; and if they agree amongst themselves, 
then at the next full assembly of six they shall make a perfect 
conclusion and end with them. 

12. Also if there rise such matter of weight as it shall please 
the King's Majesty himself to be at the debating of, then warning 
shall be given, whereby the more may be at the debating of it. . . . 

... 1 5. In matters that be long, tedious, and busy there may 
be appointed or chosen two or three, more or less as the case 
shall seem to require, to prepare, set forth, and make plain the 
matters and to bring report thereof, whereby the things being 
less cumbrous and diffuse may the easilier be dispatcht. . . . 

... 18. That no private suit be intermeddled with the great 
affairs, but heard on the Mondays before. 

19. If there be under four and a matter of expedition arise, 

1 The sense of these two paragraphs appears to be that a sixth Commission 'for 
the debts' was already in being, and that this, as soon as its special work was finished, 
was to amalgamate with the Commission for the Courts, the business of both being 
mainly financial. 


they shall declare it to the King's Majesty and before him debate 
it, but not send answer without it require wonderful haste. 

Burnet, History of the Reformation, Pt ii, Bk. i, no. 6. 

(3) Committees of the Council under Mary, 1554 

At Westminster, 23 February, 1554 

. . . The names of all such as be appointed for the purposes 

To call in the debts and provide for money [4 names]. 

To give order for supply of all wants at Calais, Guisnes, and 
other pieces of those Marches; to give like order for Berwick and 
other places upon the Borders of the North; to give the like order 
for Ireland, Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, and the islands [9 

To give order for the ships, and to appoint captains and others 
to serve on them: 'My Lord Admiral.' 

To give order for victuals necessary to be sent to Calais, 
Berwick, etc. [3 names]. 

To consider what laws shall be established in this Parliament, 
and to name men that shall make the books thereof [7 names]. 

To appoint men to continue in the examination of the prison- 
ers [no names given]. 

To consider what lands shall be sold, and who shall be in 
commission for that purpose [no names given]. 

To moderate the excessive charges: My Lord Stewardj etc., 
for the Household; My Lord Chamberlain, etc., for the Chamber. 

To consider the patents and annuities payable in sundry 
places, so as the same may be paid all in one place [6 names]. 

To appoint a Council to attend and remain at London [6 
names, including the Lieutenant of the Tower]. 

To give order for the furniture and victualling of the said 
Tower: The men aforesaid to give order. 

Dasent, jicts of the Privy Council, iv, 397. 

(4) Committees of the Council under Elizabeth, 1558 

At Westminster, 23 December, 1558 

For care of the North parts towards Scotland and Berwick [6 
names]. :«. 

To survey the office of the Treasurer of the Chamber, and to 
assign order of payment [4 names]. 

For Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight [7 names]. 

For consideration of all things necessary for the Parliament 
[7 names]. 


To understand what lands have been granted from the Crown 
in the late Queen's time [5 names]. 

Dasent, Acts of the Privy Council, vii, 27. 

(5) The Oath of a Privy Councillor, 1570^^ 
You shall swear to be a true and faithful councillor to the 
Queen's Majesty as one of her Highness's Privy Council. You 
shall not know or understand of any manner thing to be attempted, 
done, or spoken against her Majesty's person, honour, crown, or 
dignity royal, but you shall let and withstand the same to the 
uttermost of your power, and either do or cause it to be forthwith 
revealed either to her Majesty's self or to the rest of her Privy 
Council. You shall keep secret all matters committed and re- 
vealed to you as her Majesty's councillor or that shall be treated 
of secretly in council. And if any of the same treaties or counsels 
shall touch any other of the councillors, you shall not reveal the 
same to him, but shall keep the same until such time as by the 
consent of her Majesty or of the rest of the Council publication 
shall be made thereof. You shall not let to give true, plain, and 
faithful counsel at all times, without respect either of the cause 
or of the person, laying apart all favour, meed, affection, and 
partiality. And you shall to your uttermost bear faith and true 
allegiance to the Queen's Majesty, her heirs and lawful successors, 
and shall assist and defend all jurisdictions, preeminences, and 
authorities granted to her Majesty and annexed to her Crown 
against all foreign princes, persons, prelates, or potentates, 
whether by Act of Parliament or otherwise. And generally in all 
things you shall do as a faithful and true councillor ought to do to 
her Majesty. So help you God and the holy contents of this book. 

State Papers {Domestic), E/iz. Ixxxiii, 33. 

§ 2. Business of the Council 

It was not the SSj^fMFtBeTuSorC^Sal^u^^ Cabinet, 

had a right to deal with all important matters of state. The Tudors were 
their own ministers, and ,decisipns on vital questions, and especially on 
questions of foreign policy, were often taken by the Sovereign without con- 
sulting the Council at all. Nor were individual ministers always consulted. 
Wolsey, and afterwards Cromwell, exercised more influence over Henry 
VIII, and Burghley and Walsingham over Elizabeth, than any other 
ministers, but in some cases the royal decision was reached alone. 

Nevertheless, the amount of business which came before the Council 
was eno 75?5SSr^r i'^^&!rg^^ 

^ Cordpare the modern form oFtne oath, prmted m Anson, 11, 1, 138. 
2 See Prothero, p. ci. 


of Henry VIII this falls into five main groups of affairs^: the English Pale 
in France, the Scottish Border, the guardianship of the Narrow Seas, the 
regulation of trade% and finance. After the loss of Calais the first of these 
disappears, but the increasing volume of the other business more than com- 

I pensates for this. These are great matters, but it is also the case that nothing 
was too small^fguutheXouncrl-to consideir, lOuwdyfed^^C^^^^^ of 
adtiiitim^tion, znd pXWJS^mm^.4m^Wm%M&L At tfirbeginning of 

t- the reign of Elizabeth, especially, much time was absorbed by private quarrels 
and matrimonial disputes^ and modern legislation concerning judicial separa- 
tion was anticipated by Tudor administrative action. Illustrations from the 
Register of the range of Council interference are given on pp. 229-31 below. 

[The Council also possessed an extensive judicial authority, which was ex- 

1 ercised under the rtame of the Council Table. 

Thesu pr emfeju^^ii^lDQwerof^^^^^^^^ ^''°'" ^ ^'""^ 

before m(jT!ourteoF£aw fey ^ of function had grown out of 

the ancient Curia Regis [pp. 288-9], was carefully reserved through all the 
changes and developments of the Middle Ages. This jurisdiction had been 
made a subject of complaint by the House of Commons, and petitions 
against it were frequently presented, especially in the reign of Edward IH; 
but the principal grievance was the interference of the Council in causes 
properly cognisable in the Courts of Common Law. Redress given by the 
Council in cases where it could not be obtained in the ordinary courts was 
regarded differently. The common law had dangerous defects*, and in the 
view of those times it was the positive duty of the King in Council to provide 
a remedy^. Thus in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Council juris- 
diction was recognised and supported by Parliament. An Act of 1363® pro- 
vides that persons offending against the Statutes of Provisors and Praemunire 
are to be 'presented to the King and his Council.' An Act of 1388'' assigns 
to it the punishment of justices of the peace who do not hold quarter- 
sessions for the enforcement of the Statutes of Labourers. Acts of I4ii*ahd 
1414^ support its jurisdiction over riots; and an Act 0^1453^^ admits the 
lawfulness of writs directing persons guilty of 'great riots, extortions, op- 
pressions, and grievous offences' to appear before it. Thus the Council 

^- Dasent, i,. p. xviii. 

2 This, in particular, occupied an immense amount of the Council's time and 

* Dasent,. VII, p. xxvi. 

* Maitland (pp. 2 1 8-19) points out that the procedure of the common law courts 
was extremely formal, so there were advantages about a tribunal like the Council, 
which was not fettered by narrow rules. They were also incompetent to punish 
offences which fell short of felony, such as interference by violence or bribery with 
the ordinary course of justice. 'It was. . .felt,' he adds, 'that there were men who 
were too big for any court but the Council; they would bribe jurors and even 
judges;. ...there were men whom no jury would convict.' 

* 'Shall no help at all be sought for at the hands of the King, when it cannot 
be found in the common law? That were to stop his ears at the cry of the oppressed, 
and would draw wrath and punishment from Heaven' (Lambarde,'55rinted on p. 285 
below). 6 38 Edw. Ill, st. 2, c. i. 

' 12 Rich. II, c. 10. 813 Henr. IV, c. 7. 

9 2 Henr. V, st. i, c. 8. . " 31 Henr. VI, c. 2. 


jurisdiction as recognised by statute covered wide ground. Further, the rules 
for the management of causes by the Council, adopted in 1430 with the 
approval of the Lords and Commons, provide 'that all bills that comprehend 
matters terminable at the common law shall be remitted there to be deter- 
mined, but if^ so be that the discretion of the Council feel too great might 
on that one party and unmight on that other, or else causes reasonable that 
shall move them.'^ In the fifteenth century the Council was overwhelmed 
with judicial business and possessed the largest powers for dealing with it. 
OiFenders could be summoned before it, fined, imprisoned, and sentenced to 
the pillory. The legal machinery was fully developed, but the trouble was 
that it was not effectively employed against great persons. During the reign 
of Henry VI there is scarcely an instance of a great lord being punished by 
the Council for a breach of the statutes against maintenance*. Where the 1 
Tudors differ from the Lancastrians is not that they possesse d ■ Sfc-j-g^I ! 
powers, by that they used their legal ipo\v'&%''wi^SiVmif^'^^^^p.^^^^^^ 
Mitral tr fFemfcrii '' ' ' ''"'"""' "' ' ™'*''^'''*^ ''''''^'^-yr'''i»«*'^*'-"'"^-""-^^ '" ' ^' -'''■'**'"-«^w''"^*" 

ThT^Bookrtf Entries' begins in 1485, and four-fifths of its contents 
relate to prosecutions and suits*. Some of these represent Star Chamber 
business, but the book is a Council Book, and not a book of Star Chamber 
decrees. The new Council Register which begins in 1540 shews that the 
Privy Council attending the King's person, although its character was largely 
political and administrative, still occupied itself with treason, riots, and 
breaches of the peace. Mercantile cases, country quarrels,, and disputes 
about land are frequently referred to the Council^ probably in order to 
save the expense of protracted lawsuits, and these would either be deter- 
mined at the Table, or more often remitted to arbitrators^. In dealing with 
them the power to bind over the parties in recognisances beforehand to 
accept an award was of the greatest service. As a rule the Council declined 
to use its equitable jurisdiction in matters determinable by the ordinlary 
courts of law [p. 243], but in spite of this it was so 'troubled and pes- 
tered' with private suitors that in 1589 special arrangements were made for 
its relief [p. 243]. Causes 'between party and party' were still, nevertheless, 
a most important branch of the Council*§"activities as late as 1 603*. It also 
dealt with recusants' and political prisoners, and investigated cases of forgery, 
perjury, and libel. 

The Council always acted with promptitude against what were called 
'lewd and naughty words' — ^perhaps the sixteenth-century equivalent of 
modern political criticism. It was ready to investigate any accusation, how- 
ever trivial, which could possibly be construed into disaffection to the King. 
This readiness to receive accusations encouraged the practice of delation, 

1 'But ir= 'unless.' ^ Nicolas, iv, 60. 

* Baldwin, p. 305. 

* 16. p. 437: see also p. 252 below. Extracts from the 'Book of Entries' are 
printed in Scofield, pp. 6-8, 16-24. 

8 Dasent, xiv, p. zxxii; xv, p. xjcxvi; xx, p. xviii; xxi, p. xxxiii; xxii, p. xxxiv. 

6 E.H.R. xxxiv, 589. 

' Dasent, xvin, pp. xxvii and 414-17. A code of regulations for recusants con- 
fined in the Bishop's Palace at Ely and the castle of Banbury, was approved by the 
Council and entered in the Register. 



and cases are on record in which innocent men were charged by their 

! private enemies out of sheer malice^; but in dealing with these the Tudor 
Councils were on the whole remarkably painstaking and fair, although they 
could not compensate the victims for the trouble and expense to which they 
were put by the necessity of meeting accusations. Extracts from the Council 
Register illustrating the range of their judicial activity are printed on pp. 
229—242 below. 

The use of torture was unknown to the common law of England, except 
for refusal to plead 2, but it was a recognised prerogative of the King in 
Council, and orders to torture occur not infrequently in the Council Register 
[pp. 241-2]. . , . , 

Two points of judicial procedure call for special notice, (i) In some 
cases the Council, after a preliminary enquiry, would commission persons 
in the locality to investigate and proceed further, thus delegating their 
powers for a particular purpose [pp. 232—4]; while other cases would be 
referred by them to the more public and formal Court of Star Chamber 
[p. 247]. (2) In 1540 a Commission under the Great Seal was issued to the 
Council, 'whereby in matters touching the King, they and every of them 
should have authority to take recognisance of such as appear before them.'* 
This power of taking recognisances was freely used, not only for purposes 
of bail or of biriding men over to keep the peace or to appear in the Star 
Chamber*, but also to compel therh toad oFabstdn from doing almost any 
kind of act* [p. 231]. 

The Council also exercised supreme authority over the Council Courts. 
It was an ancient legal maxim that 'the King of England never did nor 
doth grant any jurisdiction to any court in his dominions, but so as he still 
retaineth in himself and his Council attendant upon his person a super- 
eminent authority and jurisdiction over them all.' Thus in 1559 the Council 
of Wales was ordered to send up certain principal offenders for trial in London; 
in 1587 the Lord Deputy of Ireland was required by the Council to 
liberate a victim of arbitrary imprisonment there®; and in 1588 the pro- 
ceedings of the Irish Castle Chamber were brought under review [p. 240]. 
Appeals from the Cpurts of the Channel Islands were also heard by the 

The rules for the distribution of their judicial business by the Council 
are given in Dr John Herbert's memorandum printed on p. 247 below. 

^ Nicolas, vn, p. xxvii. 

2 On peine forte et dure see Pollock and Maitland, ii, 651-2; see also ii, 659-60. 
; * Nicholas, vii, 27. ■* Dasent, i, 380; v, 71-2. 

* 'Disputes between private individuals, between members of corporations, 
between the City and the University of Oxford, questions as to the legality of cap- 
tures at sea, as to the ownership of property supposed to belong to the enemy 
whether Ffeilch or Scottish, applications, for privateering licenses, infractions of 
trade regulations, charges of rioting in the City, the liability of a gaoler for the escape 
of a prisoner, commercial disputes of all kinds, and even questions as to the inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures, resulted in the binding in recognisances of those who 
appeared before the Council, with or without sureties, either to obey the decision 
of the Council or to be ready to appear again before a given date' (Dasent, i, p. xvui), 

* Percy, p. 46 7 Dasent, xv, p. xxxv. 


(i) Henry VII's Council 

... Justice was well administered in his time, save where the 
King was party; save also that the Council Table intermeddled 
too much with meum and iuum. For it was a very court of justice 
during his time; especially in the beginning.. . . 

Bacon, Works (ed. Spedding), vi, 239. 

(2) Extracts from the Council Register, 1 540-1 603 

(i) Personal quarrels 
[At Windsor, 22 November, 1540] 

... Sir John Done, knight, and Thomas Holcroft, esquire, 
were set at one and made friends by arbitrament of the Council; 
the same judging Sir John Done to pay unto the said Holcroft 
for amends 100 marks.. . . 

The matter between David Vincent and Richard Cecil of the 
Wardrobe was heard, and after that Robert Browne and Miles 
Forest, which were sent for concerning the said matter, had de- 
posed what they knew in the same, it appeared that Cecil had 
used himself evil in the matter, and thereupon giving him an 
honest monition for his fault, exhorted as well the said Cecil as 
the said Vincent to be friends, and so dismissed them. . . . 

Nicolas, Ordinances of the Privy Council (1834-7), vii, 87. 

(2) Matrimonial disputes 
[At Westminster, 10 March, 1542] 

. . . Upon an humble petition made and exhibited by Joan 
Bulmer, wife to [John] Bulmer, esquire, that where the said 
[John] Bulmer enjoyed by the said Joan Bulmer his wife one 
hundred mark by year, and upon none occasion refusing her com- 
pany, thereof allowed her nothing, an order was taken by the 
Council that forasmuch as the said [John] Bulmer alleged him- 
self to be far indebted, he should the Monday next ensuing the date 
hereof bring and present to the Council the particulars of the same. 
And nevertheless it was ordained that he should permit the said 
Joan Bulmer his wife to sojourn for one year at her brother's 
house. . .allowing her for the said year 20 marks for her board 
and 20 other marks for her necessary expenses. And in case he 
should during the said term haunt and resort to her, and use her 
after such a convenient sort as it behoveth an honest man to iise 
his wife, then upon relation made of the same at the year's end, 
an order should be taken as well for the release of the payment 


of this said money to her as to have her, and to appoint her for her 
demur^ where he should think good. 

[At Westminster, 3 April, 1 542J 
i.. .John Bulmer, esquire, for his wilful disobeying of an 
order taken between him and his wife by the Council, was com- 
mitted to the Fleet. Nicolas, vii, 321 and 333. 

(3) Minor administrative business 
[At Hampton Court, i March, 1541] 

... A letter was sent to — Malt, the King's tailor, to provide 
at convenient prices and make meet for the Lord Lisle, which 
remaineth at this time prisoner in the Tower, these parcels of 
apparel and other necessaries, and thereupon to bring unto the 
said Council a note of all particulars with the prices of the same, 
to the intent a warrant might be made for repayment unto him 
of the same. 

In primis, a large gown of damask furred with black coney. 

Item, a long nightgown of cloth at lOJ. the yard furred with 
black lamb and faced with budge 2. 

Item, two jackets, one of damask, another of satin. 

Item, two doublets of satin. 

Item, four pair of hose. 

Item, six pair of shoes and one pair of slippers. 

Item, four shirts. 

Item, two nightcaps of velvet and satin. 

Item, two upper caps of cloth. 

Item, two night-kerchiefs. ... -vt- 1 •• /: 

' ° Nicolas, vn, 146. 

[At Greenwich, 14 May, 1546] 
... A letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, signifying 
the despatch unto him of Maxwell that took the Master of Peter- 
hpuse's horse, and his and his master's punishment for that actj 
and contempt in not obeying the Lord Chancellor's letter, being 
therefore both of them committed to the Counter for a season; 
and further the Vice-Chancellor was required to see the said 
Maxwell, if the horse was anything the worse, to make recom- 
pense therefore, and to advertise hither thereof accordingly. . . . 

Dasent, Jets of the Privy Council,!, 416. 
[At Greenwich, 15 June, 1546] 
... A letter to the Commissioners for the Contribution in 
Cambridgeshire to surcease from pressing the scholars of Camr 
1 Place of residencei 2 Lamb-skin fur. 


bridge to the same, considering none of them might by his living 

in the University there despend ;^io by the year, which was 

under the rates in their commission limited r» » • , , 

Uasent, 1, 454. 

(4) Recognisances j 

[At More Park, Hertfordshire, 7 October, 1540] 
Recognisances were taken in ^\o of three Hertfordshire 
yeomen, to observe the following condition: 

. . . The condition of this recognisance is that if the foresaid 
John Butler do abstain at all time and times from taking or killing 
in any manner place within the King's realm of England any 
partridges and pheasants with anynets, setters^, horses, trammels^, 
or other gins, that then, etc. . . . ^^i^^j^^ ^jj^ ^^ 

[At St James's, 20 July, 1558] 

. . . The condition of this recognisance^ is such that if the 
above-bounden Lord Latymer do make his continual attendance 
upon the Lords of the Council and not depart before licence given 
unto him by the Lord Chancellor or the rest of the Council, and 
do also make no part or portion of his land away, neither bestow 
any of his daughters in marriage, without the Queen's Majesty's 
special licence so to do, then this recognisance to be void and of 
none effect, or else, etc. . . . ^^^^^ ^j^ ^^^ 

(5) Treason 

[At Greenwich, 13 April, 1590] 

In this case the Council orders a preliminary examination by the President of the 
Council of the North, and then takes the case into its own hands for further pro- 

i . . A letter to the Earl of Huntingdon, that whereas certain 
articles had been exhibited unto the Queen's Majesty containing 
matter of treason and other heinous crimes wherewith Ralph 
Tankerd, of Arden in the county of York, his sons, servants, and 
others of his confederacy stand charged, as might appear by the 
enclosed informations, his Lordship is prayed and required to 
call before him the said malefactors and to examine the particular 
points of their accusation, and in case the allegations should 
appear to be true, and that the same were not prosecuted only of 
malice to defame the said persons, without any good pretence 

1 Nets or traps for catching birds. ^ Fowling-nets. 

* The recognisance was in the large sum of 10,000 marks. 


whereupon the informations were grounded, then to see the 
offenders to be forthcoming, and with convenient expedition to 
certify their Lordships of his travail and the effects thereof, 
together with the names of the delinquents and the offences by 
them committed, to the intent they may be proceeded withal 
according to their deserts. . . . Dasent, xix, 54. 

[6 October, 1598J 
In this case the accused actually appears before the Council. 
A letter of warrant to Sir John Peyton, knight, Lieutenant of 
the Tower of London. Whereas one Richard Rolles hath been 
brought before us for matter of treason wherewith he is charged 
in such manner as that there is great presumption of his guiltiness, 
we have therefore thought good to commit him prisoner under 
your custody to the Tower, and have herewithal sent him unto 
you under safe guard, requiring you to keep him close prisoner 
there until you shall receive farther direction from us in that be- 
half, and this shall be your sufficient warrant. . . , 

Dasent, xxix, 219. 

(6) Riot 

[27 August, 1548] 

■ The Council usually proceeded by delegation when dealing with riots, but in 
this case it acts directly. 

. . . Upon complaint made by Sir Thomas Wrothe, knight, 
of a riot made against him and his men by divers of the parish of 
Enfield, certain of the same parish that were the chief authors of 
the riot were sent for, who being arrived at the Court at Oatlands, 
and being heard in the Council Chamber there before the Lord 
Protector's Grace and Council, forasmuch as it did appear to his 
Grace and Lordships that the matter being between the said 
Sir Thomas and parishioners in controversy was before that ac- 
corded between them in the Duchy Chamber by Sir William 
Paget, Knight of the Order, Chancellor^, and the rest of the 
Council of the same Duchy, and recorded in the same Chamber in 
writing by an Act and Decree passed upon their making; it was 
decreed by his Grace and their Lordships that the parties should 
be referred to the same Decree of the Duchy and should stand 
thereunto, and that Thomas Asplin [and others] . . . should, as the 
chief authors of the riot, be committed to prison, and moreover 
Edmund Moodam [and others'] . . . should be bound to the peace, 

1 Sir William Paget, afterwards Lord Paget of Beaudesert, had been appointed 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, i July, i 547. 


and to appear in the Duchy Chamber the first of the next term 
to abide such further order as should be then taken for them. 

Dasent, ii, 219: 
[At Westminster, 31 June, 1571] 

In this case the riot is referred by the Council to the Council of the Welsh 

A letter to the Vice-President and Council in the Marches of 
Wales, understanding lately of a great riot and, assault made in 
the town of Bromyard upon the Bishop of Hereford's officers and 
servants, and that the offenders therein be of such insolency as 
the Bishop, being lord of the said town, cannot reform the same 
but is made afraid to see redress, and, as their Lordships are 
inforined, dare not well without a great guard. travel from his 
dwelling-house; for the better meeting of the same they are re- 
quired to giver order that the principal offenders be apprehended 
and committed to prison, and thereupon appointing a priyate 
sessions, if the time of their general sessions be not near, to cause 
the riot to be enquired of, and to proceed with all due severity 
and by corporal punishment and fines, according to the quality 
of their ofl^ence.... Dasent, viii, 33.. 

[At Westminster, 9 February, 1558] 

This case illustrates delegation to a particular person, who is given full power 
to act. 

... A letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury, that where a notable 
disorder and riot hath been of late committed by one William 
Gascoyne of Gawthorpe, who with 1 2 other persons in his com- 
pany came to the house of Piers Stanley, presently serving under 
the Earl of Westmorland, and there did sore wound one Thomas 
Writte, brother to the wife of the said Piers, which disorder he 
is willed to examine, and to see the offenders herein punished 
according to justice and the qualities of their offences. . . . 

Dasent, vi, 265. 

[At Greenwich, 30 July, 1581] 
This is a typical case of delegation to a few local magnates. 
A letter to [Sir] Robert Wingfield, Sir Robert Jermyn, Sir 
Nicholas Bacon, knights, Richard Wingfield, Bassingbourn 
Gaudy, and John Rivett, esquires, and to any five, four, or three 
of them, touching certain outrages and notorious riots committed 
by John Crisp, William Bugge, William Barrett, etc., upon cer- 
tain grounds called the Denes, lying in Gunton in the county of 
Suffolk; they are required to call before them and examine the 
parties offenders, and such others as they shall think good, for 


understanding of the truth of the matter, and to certify the same 
unto thieir Lordships, and further to remove the force, if he shall 
find any there, according to the statute in that behalf. ... 

Dasent, xiii, 143. 

(7) Breach of the peace 
[At St James's, i April, 1543J 
The Earl of Surrey being sent for to appear before the Council, 
was charged by the said presence as well of eating of flesh^ as of 
a lewd and unseemly manner of walking in the night about the 
streets and breaking with stone-bows^ of certain windows. And 
touching the eating of flesh, he alleged a licence, albeit he had 
not so secretly used the same as appertained. And touching the 
stone-bows, he could not deny but he had very evil done therein*, 
submitting himself therefore to such punishment as should to 
them be thought good. Whereupon he was committed to the 
i'leet.. . . Dasent, i, 104. 

(8) Assault 

[At Greenwich, 4 April, 1546] 

. . .Robert Bonham. . .for the striking of a priest, and evil 

behaving of himself in that act, was brought before the Council 

and admonished of his fault, and recommitted to the Fleet till 

another season.. , . 

[At Westminster, 11 April, 1546] 

. . . This day was Robert Bonham dismissed of his imprison- 
ment of the Fleet, after admonition given unto him for his better 
behaviour hereafter, and to the end some penalty might make 
him the warer how to attempt any like deed, it was awarded he 
should forthwith pay unto the priest for a recompense of his hurt 
five marks sterling, and to the King's Majesty by way of a fine 
ten pounds. , .and further John Maxie and Reignold Holling- 
worth, gentlemen, were either of them bound in one hundred 
pounds sterling by recognisance, whereof the condition was that 
if the said Robert Bonham did keep the peace against all persons, 
specially against the priest, . . . between this and the first day of 

^ In Lent. 2 A cross-bow or catapult for shooting stones. 

' The Earl of Surrey's defence was at any rate ingenious. Observing the corrupt 
and licentious manners of the citizens, and the deaf ears they turned to the remon- 
strances of their spiritual pastors, 'I went,' he said, 'at midnight through the streets 
and shot from my cross-bow at their windows, that the stones, passing noiseless 
through the air and breaking in suddenly upon their guilty secresy, might remind 
them of the suddenness of that punishment which the Scriptures tell us Divine 
Justice will inflict.upon impenitent sinners and so lead them to reformation' (Archaei!- 
/«!§■/«, XXV, 382). • 


Midsummer Term next, and then present himself before the 
King's Majesty's Council in the Star Chamber and not depart 
from thence till he shall be dismissed. . .then, etc., or else, etc. 

Dasent, i, 367, 379. 
(9) Seditious words 
[At Westminster, 18 March, 1541J 

. . .Whereas Thomas Dawes, of Ildersley in the county of 
Derby, labourer, had accused Sir Robert Moore, priest, parson of 
Bradley in the said county, and a certain woman being in house 
with the said priest, of sundry heinous and traitorous words sup- 
posed by the said Thomas to have been spoken by the said priest 
and woman, and thereupon certain letters were written from 
Hampton Court the 3rd of this present to the Earl of Shrewsbury 
to apprehend the said parties and to examine the matter. Foras- 
much it appeareth by the answer of the said Earl and the examina- 
tions taken by him that the priest and woman, were in no wise 
culpable of such things as were laid to their charge, the said Earl 
was required by another letter not only to discharge the said priest 
and woman in case there could be no further evidence brought 
against them for the proofs of such matter as was objected unto 
them, but also to cause the said Thomas Dawes openly in the 
parish church of the said priest to ask him forgiveness upon his 
knees, acknpwledging that he had falsely and maliciously slan- 
dered them; and if he refused so to do, then to cause him to be 
set upon the pillory the next market day, in example of such 
malicious, false knaves as might hereafter attempt to do the 
semblable.... Nicolas, vii, 158. 

[At London, 20 December, 1541] 

... Sir Robert Welle, curate of Cole church, accused by two 
several witnesses for the wreaching of the 8th chapter of Daniel 
to his own imagination, and expounding the same as written of 
the King's person'^, lewdly and traitorously, therein depraving his 
Majesty's godly proceedings, duly and evidently convinced^ 
thereof, was committed to the Tower. Nicolas vii, 285. 

(10) Malicious accusation 
[At Westminster, 25 November, 1541] 

, . . Whereas John Cheyney, son and heir of Sir Thomas 
Cheyney, Lord Warden of the Five Ports, upon a displeasure 

1 'And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to 
the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand 
up. . .and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people' (Daniel, viii, 23, 24). 

* Convicted. 


came before the Council, there accusing his said father of treason, 
and examined of the particularities of the same could allege none 
other thing but that he had images in his chapel; for that it was 
thought this accusation proceeded rather of pride than of any just 
matter, for an example he was committed to the Tower. 

Nicolas, vii, 273. 

(11) Maintaining suits 
[At Grafton, 20 July, 1 54 1 ] 

, . .Nicholas Wentworth, of Livingstone in the county of 
Northa,mptori,'gentleman, exhibited a supplication as well against 
WiUiarii Poyner of the said town, yeoman, accusing him to be a 
procurer of perjury, and a great embracer^, and maintainer^ of 
brabbling matters and suits. . .whereupon the said Poyner, being 
convinced by the deposition of sundry witnesses to be guilty of 
the said crimes, was committed to the porter's ward, and for his 
further punishment adjudged to be set upon the pillory at North-^ 
ampton, Stamford, Oxford, and Aylesbury at four several market 
days, with a paper written in great letters declaring the cause of 
his punishment Nicolas, vii, 217. 

(12) Religious offences 
[At St James's, 5 April, 1543] 

... Sir John Clere, [William] Stafford, esquire, Thomas 
Clere, and — Husey were committed to the Fleet for eating of 
flesh upon Good Friday. ... 

[At Westminster, 19 April, 1543] 

. . . Whereas Sir John Clere [etc.] . . . were committed unto 

the Fleet for eating flesh upon Good Friday last past, there to 

be kept two and two in a chamber without any farther liberty, 

this day it was ordered that they should have the liberty of the 

° " ' * Dasent, i, 106 and 114. 

[At St James's, 10 April, 1543] 
, . . Certain joiners, to the number of 20, having made a dis- 
guising^ upon the Sunday morning, without respect either of the 
day or the order which was known openly the King's Highness 
intended to take for the repressing of plays, were therefore com- 
mitted to ward, and bestowed some in the Tower, some in New- 
gate, and some in the Gatehouse. ... t-. • 
° ' Dasent, i, 109. 

^ See note on p. 258 below. 

2 One who unlawfully supports a suit in which he is not concerned. 

" A mask or masquerade. 


[At St James's, 7 June, 1546] 
. . . Lanam, a prophesier, was committed this day to the 
Tower for prophesying according to Weston's and Barker's de- 
positions, and a letter was addressed to the Lieutenant for his 
safe keeping there accordingly. y. ■ 

[At Greenwich, 19 June, 1546] 

. . . Thomas Keyme of Lincolnshire, who had married one 
Anne Ascue, called hither and likewise his wife . . . was appointed 
to return to his country till he should be eftsoons^ sent for; and 
for that she was very obstinate and heady in reasoning of matters 
of religion, wherein she shewed herself to be of a naughty opinion, 
seeing no persuasions of good reasons could take place, she was 
sent to Newgate to remain there to answer to the law; like as 
also one — White, who attempted to make an erroneous book, 
was sent to Newgate after debating with him of the matter, who 
shewed himself of a wrong opinion concerning the Blessed 
Sacrament.... Dasent, i, 462. 

(13) Forgery 
[At St James's, 6 December, 1556] 

This day one Thomas Browne, nephew unto Justice Browne, 
being demanded by the Lords whether (as it was complained) he 
had counterfeited or no certain licences for the carrying from 
place to place of grain, and counterfeited thereunto the names of 
divers justices of peace and their seals, he confessed that he so 
did, and made, he saith, no more of them but six, and all within 
this twelvemonth, humbly submitting himself and desiring to be 
punished for the same his lewd doings to the example of others 
. . . thereupon the said Thomas Browne was committed to the 

^1^^*- Dasent, vi, 28. 

(14) Liie/ 
[At Westminster, 30 April, 1557J 
. . . Upon consideration of the matter in variance between 
Richard Michell, esquire, and William Penry, it was this day for 
a final end between them ordered, by the consent and agreement 
of the said Richard Michell, that the said Penry should at the 
next general sessions to be holden within the county of Car- 
marthen, in open court before the Justices there declare that he 
knoweth nothing touching the allegiance of the said Michell but 
honesty and truth, and that he, the same Penry, spake the words 

^ A second time 


alleged against him in the action of the case brought by the said 
Michell rashly and unadvisedly, and that he cannot justify the 
same, for the which he is sorry and asketh him forgiveness; 
whereupon it is ordered that the said Michell, his attorneys and 
deputies, shall surcease from further proceeding against the said 
Penry in his action or in the execution of the same. ... 

Dasent, vi, 82. 

(15) Perjury 
[At Greenwich, 19 February, 1587] 

. . .A letter to , Justices of Peace in the county of 

Worcester, to take the hearing of a matter in controversy between 
one Richard Pressey, a poor man of Worcester, and one John 
Cottrell, whom the said Pressey chargeth with perjury, and if they 
can to end the same between them; if not, to certify their Lord- 
ships in whom the default is. . . . Dasent xiv 335. 

(16) Unlicensed printing 

[At St James's, 8 April, 1543] 

. , . [Eight] printers, for printing of such books as were 

thought to be unlawful, contrary to the proclamation made on 

that behalf, were committed unto prison,. . . Dasent i 107. 

(17) Procedure by arbitration 
[At Greenwich, 12 May, 1575] ^ 
This case illustrates the machinery of arbitration in private disputes coming 
before the Council Table, and the share of the Council in determining the final 
award. It shews also that the Star Chamber could still be used as a Council room. 

This day their Lordships having called before them Mr 
Doctor Humfrey, Vice-Chancellor, and some other of the officers 
of the University of Oxford, Roger Taylor, Mayor, and some 
other of the aldermen and burgesses of the said City, caused 
certain Orders to be openly read before them, the tenor whereof 
ensueth : 

Whereas heretofore there hath been divers controversies, 
debates, and strifes between the Vice-Chancellor, Masters, and 
Scholars of the University of Oxford on the one side, and the 
Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of the said City on the other 
side, touching the use and exercise of sundry charters and privi- 
leges alleged by both parts for the maintenance of such liberties 
and other things as were claimed by them, whereby did and was 
daily more and more like to ensue great disquietness in the said 
University and Town, not meet to be suffered; wherefore upon 
the repair hither of Mr Doctor Humfrey, Vice-Chancellor, and 


certain other officers of the said University, and Roger Taylor, 
Mayor, with some of the aldermen and the Recorder, Town 
Clerk, and other burgesses of the said City of Oxford, their Lord- 
ships thought it convenient to move both parties to submit the 
hearing of the causes of their controversies in law to grave and 
indifferent men learned in the laws of the realm; whereupon both 
parties did assent that all and singular the said controversies and 
debates should be committed to the hearing,, report, and con- 
sideration of Roger Manwood and Roger Monson, two of the 
Justices of the Common Pleas, Gilbert Gerrard and Thomas 
Bromley, her Majesty's Attorney- and Solicitor-General, who by 
order of their Lordships sundry times called before them both 
parties, with their learned counsel, and fully heard and examined 
the charters and privileges on each side, with all the allegations 
and answers of both parts, and thereupon the said four Com- 
missioners set down in writing their opinions concerning the 
said controversies as agreeable with law and justice, and after- 
wards their Lordships having had at three several times the said 
Vice-Chancellor and officers of the University with their learned 
counsel, the Mayor, aldermen. Recorder, and Town Clerk of 
the said City before them with their learned counsel, whereof 
the one time was at the Star Chamber, where the Lord Keeper of 
the Great Seal of England and some others of the Privy Council, 
besides those above-named, were present, and with good delibe- 
ration considered not only the report of the said committees ex- 
hibited in writing, but also particularly in presence of the said 
committees and all other parties heard the circumstance of the 
whole matter, the claims, answers, and replies on both sides, 
what each party could allege, and so with great and advised de- 
liberation their Lordships have according to right and equity for 
the benefit and quiet both of the said University and City, places 
necessary to be ordered always by the order and authority of the 
Privy Council, thought convenient and necessary to have these 
Orders following set down to be inviolably hereafter observed by 
both parties, and upon the return of the said Vice-Chancellor and 
Mayor within 14 days to be published and notified by them in 
the common places of the assemblies of the said University and 
City, to be by them appointed and called together for that pur- 
pose so as in like solemn acts hath been heretofore accustomed, 
as Orders enjoined unto them from their Lordships in the Queen's 
Majesty's name, and there to be registered in the Common Book 
of the said University and City, to remain as a perpetual memory 
and record of such Orders between them, as followeth : 


Here follow the Orders in Council dealing with the various points in the disputCi 
One of these raises a curious question. Under a deed of 3 1 Edw. Ill the City of 
Oxford was bound to pay to the University 100 marks yearly 'for a memorial or 
penance of a slaughter committed by their predecessors in a conflict against the said 
University,' this memorial taking the usual form of a mass 'for the souls of them 
that were slain in the said conflict.' The University claimed 1 500 marks as arrears, 
but the City contended that as for the last fifteen years these masses had been illegal, 
they were no longer bound. The decision of the Council was that in lieu of a mass 
the City 'shall yearly procure a communion or sermon to be made in St Mary's 
Church' on the former anniversary, 'and then and there with such number of die 
City' as were mentioned in the original deed 'make their oblation yearly of a penny 
apiece at the least to the use of the said University, for a perpetual memory or re- 
membrance of the said slaughter or misdemeanour by them committed as aforesaid, 
and not for the souls of the parties then slain or for any other superstitious use.' 

Dasent, viii, 376. 

(18) Control over courts 

[I April, 1588] 

This extract not only illustrates the control exercised by the English Council 
over the Star Chamber in Ireland, but shews that in Ireland also the distinction 
between the Council Board and the Star Chamber was that between a private body 
and a public court'-. 

... A letter to the Lord Deputy of Ireland and the rest of 
the Council^ that whereas Henry Eyland, late Sheriff of the 
county of Roscommon, exhibited a petition unto their Lordships, 
herein enclosed, complaining of a hard sentence given against 
him in the Star Chamber at Dublin, he being absent in her 
Majesty's service, so as their Lordships could not but much 
marvel thereat in case both the matter and the manner of pro- 
ceeding to his condemnation therein were such as he alleged; but 
because their Lordships thought it not reasonable to give credit 
to the said Eyland's own allegations, and himself desired no more 
but that the truth of his cause and the whole proofs touching the 
said sentence might be re-examined in that realm, refusing no 
manner of fine or punishment laid upon him already or to be laid 
on him in case upon re-examination of the matter objected 
against him he should be found faulty in the same as the same 
sentence purported, their Lordships could not deny his request 
in this behalf, and therefore did refer both him a;nd the re-ex- 
amination of his whole cause and sentence so given as aforesaid 
unto his Lordship, etc., praying them to look into the same with 
all indifferency, hearing at large as well what this suppliant per- 
sonally could answer for himself as that he had been charged 
withal, and thereupon if they should see no cause to alter the 
said sentence, then to cause the same to be put in execution, and 

' See p. 253 below. 


contrariwise finding cause why it should not be executed, then 
to revoke and mitigate the same as the justice or equity of his 
cause should require; which re-examination and that which was 
further thereupon by them to be done their Lordships thought 
meet should be done at the Council Board and not in the Star 
Chamber, because it could not in their opinions stand with the 
honour and reputation of any such Court of Justice after a judg- 
ment given in the same Court to have it re-examined and al- 

*^^^^ Dasentjxvi, 10. 

(19) The use of torture 
[At Windsor, 16 November, 1540] 
. . . Thomas Thwaites was sent to the Tower of London by 
certain of the guard with a letter to the Lieutenant declaring his 
confession, and commanding him that in case he would stand 
still in denial to shew of whom he had heard the things he con- 
fessed, he should give him a stretch or two at his discretion upon 
thebrakei.... Nicolas, vii, 83. 

[At Greenwich, 3 June, 1553] 
... A letter to the Earl of Sussex to cause Man and Gardiner 
to be sent hither under sure custody, seeing they obstinately refuse 
to confess the truth of their doings touching their stealing of the 
hawks out of Winfarthing, to the end they may be here farther 
examined and put to the torture, if need shall be, to the example 
of other.... Dasent, iv, 284. 

. [At Westminster, 27 January, 1555 J 

^h letter of thanksgiving to the Mayor of Bristol, signifying 
the receipt of his letters to the Lords by the Sheriff there, together 
with the counterfeit coins and other the coiners' instruments and 
tools by him lately apprehended; requiring him for the better 
trial and boulting out^ of such as be privy with them, and speci- 
ally the graver of their irons, to put the parties to the rack if he 
shall so think good by his discretion and to use all other means 
whereby the truth and whole circumstances thereof may come to 

%h' Dasent, V, 93. 

[3 May, 1581} 

.^.A letter unto the Lieutenant of the Tower, Doctor 
Hamond, and Thomas Norton gentleman, that whereas there 
hath been of late apprehended among others a certain seminary 

^ 'The brake or rack, commonly called the Duke of Exeter's daughter because 
he was the deviser of that torture' (Stow, quoted in the Oxford Dictionary). 
2 /. e. sifting out, as of flour. 

T. D. 16 


priest or Jesuit naming himself Bryant, about whom there was 
taken divers books and writings carrying matter of high treason, 
and is (as may by good likelihood be conjectured) able to discover 
matters of good moment for her Majesty's service, it was there- 
fore thought necessary that he should be to that purpose sub- 
stantially examined upon such interrogatories as may be framed 
and gathered out of the said books and writings, which their 
Lordships send them therewith, for the doing whereof especial 
choice was made of them three, and thereby authority given unto 
them to draw the interrogatories and to examine the said Bryant 
accordingly; and if he shall refuse by persuasion to confess such 
things as they shall find him able to reveal unto them then they 
shall offer unto him the torture in the Tower, and in case upon 
the sight thereof he shall obstinately refuse to confess the truth 
then shall they put him unto the torture, and by the pain and 
terror of the same wring from [him] the knowledge of such 
things as shall appertain. . . . j^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^ 

(20) Unusual punishment 
[At Hampton Court, 18 January, 1541] 

... A letter under the stamp'- was sent unto the Dean of 
York and others, that whereas the King's Majesty being adver- 
tised by their letters written unto the Master of the Horse and 
Mr Secretary Wriothesley of two women which had done and 
committed detestable offences in those parts, his Majesty's 
pleasure was that they should first cause the woman that burned 
the house to be indicted of the said fact, and thereupon to be 
arraigned, and to see her put to execution of such death as by the 
law is limited and appointed in that behalf, and for the punish- 
ment of the other woman to cause her tongue to be pierced and 
slit through with a burning iron, to the intent she shall never 
after disclose her vicious and abominable doings. ... 

Nicolas, vii, 117. 

Other cases in the Register which serve to illustrate further the range 
of the Council's activities are the following: Nicolas, vii, 36 (an order for 
'the seizing of' the daughters of a certain knight deceased, 'to the use of the 
King's wardship'); Dasent, xxi, 461 (an order relating to the exportation of 
pilchards); ih. i, 33 (a letter to the Bishop of Ely 'for the speedy redubbing 
of certain marsh walls, broken by the rage of water'); ib. x, 92 (treason); 
lb. vii, 55, sy, 62, and viii, 294 (riot); Nicolas, vii, 153 (robbery); ib. vii, 
95 (examination of one Walsh, 'suspect for a naughty person and a vaga- 

1 In Henry VIII's reign the royalsign manual was often affixed to public docu- 
ments by means of a stamp. 


bond'); ib. vii, 31, 36, 171 (seditious words); ib. vii, 179 (a malicious ac- 
cusation); ib. vii, 29 (enhancing victuals); ib. vii, 97, 106 (letters to appre- 
hend one Thomas Walpole, 'a seditious fellow and a setter forth of a 
naughty book made by Philip Melanchthon^); ib. vii, 213, 224, and Dasent, 
iv, 252 (religious oiFences); Nicolas, vii, 41, 74, 77, 81 (further illustrations 
of the method of delegation); ib. vii, 160 (an arrest by order of the Council); 
Dasent, iii, 407, iv, 201 (torture). 

(3) Council Orders concerning Private Suits, 1582, 1589 

[15 April, 1582] 

. . . This day the Lords and others of her Majesty's Privy 
Council considering what multitude of matters concerning private 
causes and actions between party and party were daily brought 
unto the Council Board, wherewith their Lordships were greatly 
troubled and her Majesty's special services oftentimes interrupted, 
for remedy whereof it was agreed among them that from hence- 
forth no private causes arising between parties for any action 
whatsoever which may receive order and redress in any of her 
Majesty's ordinary courts shall be received and preferred to the 
Board, unless they shall concern the preservation of her Majesty's 
peace or shall be of some public consequence to touch the govern- 
ment of the realm. . . . Dasent, Jets of the Privy Council, xiii, 394, 

[8 October, 1589] 

Whereas by reason of the multitude of private suitors re- 
sorting daily to her Majesty's Privy Council the Lords and others 
of the same are continually so troubled and pestered with the said 
private suitors and their causes as at the times of their assembling 
for her Majesty's special services they can hardly be suffered (by 
the importunity of the said suitors) to attend and proceed in such 
causes as do concern her Majesty and the state of the realm, the 
said suits and causes being for the most part of such nature as 
either have been determined in other courts, or else such as 
ought to receive hearing and trial and order in the several Courts 
of Justice or of Conscience^ within the realm ordaihed for those 
purposes. Their Lordships therefore considering the inconveni- 
ence and hindrances growing to her Majesty's services com- 
monly interrupted by giving audience to such private suitors, and 
that many times the judges and justices of sundry of the courts 
aforesaid, to whom the ordering and determining of many of 

1 Melanchthon's Epistle to Henry Fill. 

2 'The Courts of Conscience for civil causes be these: the Chancery, open to all 
men; the Court of Requests, that specially heareth the suits of poor men and the 
Prince's servants' (Lambarde, Archeion, p. 26). 

16 — 2 


the said suits do properly and naturally appertain, do thereby 

find cause of oiFence as derogating the lawful authority of the said 

courts and places of judgment. For these considerations their 

Lordships this day, upon good deliberation, ordered and decreed 

that fropi henceforth no such private causes or suits which by 

^ due and ordinary course of law ought to receive their trial and 

^ determination in any of her Majesty's Courts of Justice or Con- 

\ sciejBce, or in any court in corporate towns (where by charters 

such causes ought to be heard and determined) should be received 

and admitted to be heard and determined by the said Privy 

Council, and if any suitors shall at any time hereafter resort eithej 

\to her Majesty's Principal Secretary, or to the Clerk or Clerks of 

the Council for the time attendant, or to the Council Board, as 

u,nacquainted with this Order, whose causes shall manifestly 

appear to be of such kind as is aforesaid, that every such suitor 

and cause shall be addressed and directed either by her Majesty's 

Principal Secretary or in his absence from the Court by any two 

of the Council, or when the Council shall not be assembled then 

by one of the Clerks of the Council then attendant^, either to the 

Lord Chancellor or Masters of the Court of Requests (if the 

order thereof ought to be had in way of equity by course of 

those; courts), or to such other Courts of the Common Law or 

Courts of Equity or the Courts for her Majesty's Revenue where 

the said causes are properly determinable; after which directions 

/according to the nature of the siwts, if the parties shall make 

\complaini; that notwithstanding such direction they cannot have 

<^ their causes regeived to be heard and ordered according to the 

/ laudable usage of the courts whereunto they are addressed, then 

^the parties complaining shall not be denied to be heard and their 

\ griefs remedied, as by proof it shall fall out that justice or usual 

^elp is denied unto them. And to the end that this Order and 

decree may be duly and inviolably kept, observed, and maintained, 

their Lordships have promised and concluded among themselves 

that neither they in general nor any of them in particular will 

hereafter in regard of any private person or cause contrary to the 

form of this Order move, require, or do anything that shall 

ijmpugn or violate the same, and for the better confirmation 

thereof they have severally subscribed the said Order and decree^ 

^ and commanded the same to be entered into the Council Book, 

/ there to remain of record. Provided nevertheless that hereby is 

not meant to seclude any persons with their suits if they shall 

1 At this time there were five Clerks of the Council (Dasent, xvm, p. ixxiii). 


complain of any wrong, wilful delay, or denial of justice by any 

judge or judges in any Court, or by any justice of peace in thei^ 

jurisdictions, where they have made complaint in any ordihary 

sort, in which cases as their Lordships Will be willing to relieve 

them upon their complaints, so also if it shall be proved they have 

made their complaints without just cause it shall be reason to 

(^ punish the said complainants. In like manner no man shall be 

/ barfed by this Order to give information against any persons for 

^any fact tending to treason or conspiracy, or to any crime that 

(['may concern the safety or honour of her Majesty's royal person, 

\^ Dasent, xviii, 181. 

[At Greenwich^ 27 June, 1591] 

An addition to the Lords' Order which was written and set 
down the %th of October, 1589 

We seeing that notwithstanding this Order the multitude of 
private suitors hath of late increased by reason of some inter- 
mission of the due execution of the same, whereby the public 
services of her Majesty are daily hindered and interrupted, do 
therefore will and require you, the Masters of RequestSj that 
from henceforth when you shall have received the petitions ex- 
hibited at the Council Boafd you consider of several caiises in 
them contained^ and finding therti such as by this Order are not 

/'to be admitted, that you address the parties to the Courts of 
Justice and Conscience where they are properly triable, and so 

Vpfovide that we be not troubled therewith, and for your better 
direction herein we have sent you a copy of our said Order, 

';whereby you may be directed for the nature and quality of the 

^said causes. Hereof fail yOu not. D^^^^^^ ^i^ ^^^ 

(4) Order against Seditious Books, 1566 

This Ofder is referred to ift a pkintiff^s bill of fconlfkint in the Star Chaihber in 
1582 as a decree of that Court^, but the forffi of the Order is flot that of a Star 
Chamber decree, and it is more probably an Order in Council which happens to be 
dated ffom the Star Chamber room where the Council had been sitting. As the volume 
of the Council Register for the greater part of 1 566 is missing, the point cannot be 
finally settled. 

I. That no person should print, or cause to be printed, or 
bring or procure to be brought into the realm printed, any book 
against the force and meaning of any ordinance, prohibition, or 
commandment, contained or to be contained in any the statutes 
or laws of this realm, or in any injunctions, letters patents, or 

1 Scofield, p. 52 ». 


ordinances passed or set forth, or to be passed or set forth, by the 
Queen's grant, commission, or authority, 

II. That whosoever should offend against the said ordi- 
nances should forfeit all such books and copies; and from thence- 
forth should never use or exercise, or take benefit by any using 
or exercising, the feat^ of printing, and to sustain three months 
imprisonment without bail or mainprize^. 

III. That no person should sell or put to sale, bind, stitch, 
or sew any such books or copies, upon pain to forfeit all such 
books and copies, and for every book 20s. 

IV. That all books so forfeited should be brought into 
Stationers' Hall. And there one moiety of the money forfeited to 
be reserved to the Queen's use, and the other moiety to be de- 
livered to him or them that should first seize the books or make 
complaint thereof to the Warden of the said Company. And 
all the books so to be forfeited to be destroyed or made waste 

V. That it should be lawful for the Wardens of the Company 
for the time being or any two of the said Company thereto de- 
puted by the said Wardens, as well in any ports or other suspected 
places, to open and view all packs, dryfats^, maunds*, and other 
things wherein books or paper shall be contained, brought into 
this realm, and make search in all work-houses, shops, ware- 
houses, and other places of printers, booksellers, and such as 
bring books into the realm to be sold, or where they have reason- 
able cause of suspicion; and all books to be found against the 
said ordinances to seize and carry to the Hall to the uses above- 
said, and to bring the persons offending before the Queen's 
Commissioners in Causes Ecclesiastical. 

VI. Every stationer, printer, bookseller, merchant, using any 
trade of book-printing, binding, selling, or bringing into the 
realm, should before the Commissioners or before any other per- 
sons thereto to be assigned by the Queen's Privy Council, enter 
into several recognisances of reasonable sums of money to her 
Majesty, with sureties or without, as to the Commissioners 
should be thought expedient, that he should truly observe all the 
said ordinances, well and truly yield and pay all such forfeitures, 
and in no point be resisting but in all things aiding to the said 
Wardens and their deputies for the true execution of the 

^ Art or profession. , 2 See note on p. 10 above. 

^ Cases or barrels for holding dry goods as opposed to liquids. 
* Wicker baskets. 


Upon the consideration before expressed and upon the 
motion of the Commissioners, we of the Privy Council have 
agreed this to be observed and kept upon the pains therein con- 
tained. At the Star Chamber the 29 June, 1566, and the eighth 
year of the Queen's Majesty's reign. 

[Then follow the signatures of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Keeper of the Great 
Seal, and seven other Councillors.] 

We underwrit think these ordinances meet and necessary to 
be decreed and observed. 

[Then follow the signatures of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, and six other members of the High Commission.] 

Str3rpe, Life of Parker, Book in, ch. xi. 

(5) Memorandum on the distribution of business, 1600 

In continuation of Dr John Herbert's Memorandum of 26 April, 1600, on the 
duties of a Secretary (see p. 212 above). 

...Memorandum: That all causes to be treated on in 
Council and resolved are either only for her Majesty, or betwixt 
party and party, or betwixt some party (either subject or stranger) 
and the Queen's Majesty. 

The first doth handle principally questions and consultations 
of state, growing from foreign advertisements or some extra- 
ordinary accidents within the realm. 

The second (between party and party) are very seldom heard^ 
particularly, but rather ended by overruling an obstinate person 
who is made to acknowledge his fault, or else the parties are re- " 
mitted to some court of justice or equity, or recommended by / 
some letters to some justices in the country to compound the N 
differences either by consent of the parties or by direction. Or, if / 
the cause be great, then to write letters to some principal persons 
to have some circumstances better understood and examined con- 
cerning matter of fact, whereof the Council cannot be so well in- 
formed when they have only the suggestions of one party against 
another; upon which report it often happeneth that quarrels and 
differences are taken up by the Council when it appears clearly 
who is in default. 

When there is anything in question wherein the Queen is a 
party, it is commonly either by the breach of peace or for somes^ 
other title. If there be breach of peace the Lords do either punish ^ 
the offender by commitment, or do refer the matter to be further ^ 
proceeded in in the Star Chamber, where great riots and contempts / 



are punished. If it be matter of title, then the Lords refer it to 
the Queen's learned counsel, and recommend the same to the 
Judges' care^. 

If there be some suits to the Queen of poor men, then do the 
Lords endorse their petitions with their opinions, and recommend 
the dispatch to the Secretary, or for the poorer sort to the Master 
of the Requests*. 

State Papers {Domestic), Eli%. cclxxiv, 1 1 8. 

^ Probably the judges and men learned in the law who were occasional members 
of the Council. It is from the latter that the modern 'King's Counsel' derive their 

^ On the Court of Requests see p. 299 below. 

The Star Chamber 

The origin of the Court of Star Chamber is a constitutional problem of 
great difficulty, and its history has been much misunderstood^. The famous 
Star Chamber Statute of Henry VII [p. 258J was interpreted as establishing 
by statutory authority a new jurisdiction and a new court, and from this 
initial error a whole series of misconceptions grew. 

The Act of 1487 gives authority to six persons — the Chancellor, the 
Treasurer, a bishop and a temporal lord of the King's Council, and two of 
the King's judges^-^to deal with seven offences — maintenance, the giving 
of liveries, retainers by indenture or otherwise, e mbrace ry^ 'untrue de- 
meanings of sheriffs in making of panels and other untrue returns,' the 
'taking of money by juries,' and 'great riots and unlawful assemblies'; these 
being precisely the offences which rngst disturbed social order at that time. 
Proceedings were to be begun by information to the Chancellbr, and the 
Court was empowered to examine the accused. By a Statute of 1 529 [p. 259] 
the Lord President of the Council was added to the members of the Court. 
The Star Chamber is not mentioned at all in the Act of 1487, but the title 
Pro Camera Stellata is prefixed to ii;/pn the Rolls*. 

From the earlier part of the seventeenth century the Court of Stair Cham- 
ber included all the members of the Council; other persons learned in the law 
were sworn in to give professional advice in addition to the two judges 
referred to in the Act of 1487; and the Court was dealing with offences 
other than those seven enumerated in the Act — e.g. sedition, robbery, murder, 
and especially such crirnes as libel, for which the common law provided no 

Out of this discrepancy arose the historical blunder embodied in the Act 
of 1641^ 'for the regulating of the Privy Council and for taking away the 
Court commonly called t^ie Star Chamber.' It was assumed by the Parlia- 
mentarian lawyers that the Star Chamber as they knew it derived its autho- 
rity from the Act ©f 1487; that it had illegally enlarged the number of the 

^ This is partly due to want of material. Although there is a mass of Star Chamber 
documents in the Record Office, the whole of ithe decrees and orders of the Court 
have disappeared. A Committee of the House of Lords reported in 17 19 that 'they 
were last seen in a house in Bartholomew Close, London' (Bradford, p. 14). 

* It should be observed that the King's judges were not, strictly speaking, 
judges of the Court, as judgment was not given in their name but in that of members 
of the Council onlylThe judges were pr^ent as referees upon legal points (Leadam, 
II, p. zii; cf. also i, ,pp. zzxvii, xzzviii). \ 

* See note on p. 258 below. 

* The words 'Court of Star Chamber' occur in the tide of the Act as printed; 
but there were no titles to Acts of Parliament until 1495 (Craies, Statute Law, ed. 
of 1907, p. 177); and it was not until 15x4 that it became the regular custom to 
insert them, usually in the margin of the Roll. Further, the titles entered on the 
original Acts often differ from those on the same Acts as enrolled in Chancery 
{Statutes of the Realm, in, p. v). 

* 17 Car. I, c. 10. 


judges of the Court; and that it had assumed a wider jurisdiction than was 
allowed to it by law^ It was therefore held to be no true Court, and was 
abolished by statute. 

It is now a matter of general agreement among historians that the Court 
of Star Chamber derived its authority, not from the Act of 1487, but from 
the far older jurisdiction of the King's Council. The title 'Court of Star 
Chamber' was not regularly used until comparatively late in its history; and 
the earliest reference to the Star Chamber in the proceedings before it is not 
to a Court but to a place^. The earlier proceedings refer to the Lords of 
the Council in the Starred Chamber at Westminster (p. 251}. The forms of 
the tribunal followed those of the Council and ran in the Council's name^. 
The clerk of the Star Chamber bore the title of 'Clerk of the Council of 
State'; and Lord Burghley declared in the Star Chamber 'before all the 
presence' that 'there was no other Clerk of the Queen's Council of State 
but only the Clerk of this Court, and that the others were clerks of the 
Privy Council attendant upon her Majesty's royal person, and those other 
clerks were to attend at the Council Table.'* Again, in 1588 the Clerk of 
the Star Chamber was recognised as the 'first clerk of the Council in place,'^ 
since the King's Council in the Star Chamber, as heir to the medieval 
Council, took precedence of the Privy Council attendant on the King's 
person, which might be regarded as a later development®. Finally, all the 
earlier writers on the Star Chamber [pp. 284-96] agree in regarding it as 
identical with the King's Council, and it is not until Elizabeth's reign that 
th6 theory of its statutory origin in 1487 makes its appearance^. 

! The j|g£t,of the Aa^of J487 .can.Bgrtegifee.te£riltegife^s^s^™g 
thatit^establi^edwhgujpswld^ ,a,, 'statwtpry,. m^^E^™ Bf 

the^^^ra^^powered to acton behalf of the whole Council in^pg^jgpLpt 
cemtn'oS'SffiSTffiPiS^nEil wias large; part of it followed the King; the 
neeS^^BSffi^'promptly with the kind of disorder referred to in the Act was 
urgent. It was therefore convenient to have a small body of Councillors 
aiithorised to act for the whole Council in these matters; and its statutory 
character met the criticisms which had been made from time to time on the 
legality of the Council jurisdiction. But the creation of a statutory committee 
left the jurisdiction of the Council unimpaired, and it continued to be 

^ 'The said judges have not kept themselves to the points limited by the said 
statute, but have undertaken to punish where no law doth warrant, and to mate 
decrees for things- having no such authority, and to inflict heavier punishments than 
by any warranted' (17 Car. I, c. 10, printed in S. R. Gardiner, Constitutional 
Documents, p. 181). 

^ Hewitt's case, 1 500. In the bill filed in this case the Lord Keeper is petitioned 
to Summon the defendants 'to appear before your said Lordship to-morrow in the 
sterre chamber' (Leadam, i, pp. Ixii and 72). , ; 

3 Leadam, i, p. xxiv. * Scofield, p. 62. See also p. 219 above. | 

® Hudson, quoted in Scofield, p. 62 n. 

* Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 1918, p. 187. 

'. 5 Eliz. c, 9 refers to 'the power or authority given by Act of Parliament made I 
•in the time of King Henry VII to the Lord Chancellor... and others of the King's 
Council... to examine and punish riots, [etc.]. * . ' 

^ Cf. Henry VIII's Statute of Proclamations, which sets up a statutory committee 
on similar lines (see p. 530 below). 


exercised over the old ground. T ljf . A rt ,, « aiaift t&q4d. J a UBa^^ 
""H-T g"VPrnmfiriii1riiiMiratii«''*-^~M4,r^,n^^}^^^|;^j^^ ^^j^ scarcely be supposed 
thaFthe general body of the Council would surrender their ancient and un- 
bounded jurisdiction in fevour of the Chancellor and his five colleagues 
working under the limitations set up by the Act. 

The view that the Star Chamber is really the King's Council is supported 
by the documentary records of its proceedmgs, for these make it clear that 
tn^ action of the Lords of the Council in the Star Chamber was never 
limited hy the Act of 1487. Down to the year 1500 the form of address 
with which the plaintiff most commonly prefaces his bill of complaint is 
either 'To the King our Sovereign Lord' or 'To the King our Sovereign 
Lord and to the Lords of his most noble Council'; and it is not until after 
that year that the Chancellor is most commonly addressed^ and even then 
the Council in the Star Chamber is appealed to not infrequently^. In the 
case of the Merchant Adventurers against the Staplers of Calais, which 
came before the Council in the 'Sterre Chambre' as early as 1504 [p. 260], 
there were no less than 41 Councillors present, includmg the two Chief 
Justices, three doctors of laws, and both the King's Secretaries. This 
may have been exceptional, but in a case of 1508 there were nine judges 
sitting instead of the six required by the statute; instead of the Chancellor, 
Treasurer, and Lord Privy Seal, or two of them, only the Chancellor was 
present; instead of two judges of the courts of law there were six; and there 
was no bishop^. In a case of 1516 there were present not only the Chan- 
cellor, Treasurer, and Lord Privy Seal, a bishop, and a temporal lord, as 
required by the Act, but also nine other members of the Privy Council who 
all sat as judges and not as mere advisers of the Court*. An Act of 1529^ — 
the year in which the Lord President of the Council was added to the 
statutory committee of 1487, and when it was therefore still active — recites 
a Star Chamber decree 'concerning alien handicraftsmen inhabiting within 
the realm,' and refers to it as 'ordained, adjudged, and decreed. . .in our 
Starred Chamber at Westminster by the most Reverend Father in God, 
Thomas, Lord Cardinal Legate de latere of the Apostolic See, Archbishop 
of York, Primate and Chancellor of England, and by our nobles and others 
of our said Council' — z. description which might very well fit the King's 
Council, but could not possibly be applied to the statutory committee of 
1487. Again, the ceteri consularii sometimes entered as occasionally at- 
tending the Court, exceed the whole number of the committee as defined 
by the Act of 1487®. Finally, Hudson, who had been himself the Clerk of 
the Court and had searched its records, states that the number of the judges 
in the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII was 'well near to forty; at 
some one time thirty.''' 

neithg^^^^jlUa§4Jction. The first case heard after the passmg oFthe Act 
rdatedto the financial affairs of a priory. Other early cases are concerned 
with defamation, wrongful impounding, violation of royal charters, false 

1 Leadam, i, p. xiv. * lb. 11, p. xvii. ' lb. i, p, xxxvi. 

* lb. 11, p. xi. * 21 Henr. VIII, c. 20. * Leadam, i, p. xxxviii. 

' lb. I, p. xxxix. A careful discussion of the whole problem will be found 
on pp. xxiv-1. 


1 imprisonment, abduction, and illegal tolls^. It is evident that the tribunal 
Ibefore which these cases were heard regarded itSgjjfasD^rasinetfiewidef 
gurisdiction o f the King in Council, and dedmea ^rWe^eot'Wmntime l ow 
cornelfffl'^g^^^ rrn^T h a^ffWTOt' g l i rpf M ^ ^^ 

the latei^'t^w-y that the Star Chamber was founded by the Act of 1487 as 
'a doating which no man that had looked upon the records of the Court 
would have lighted upon.'^ 

If this view is the right one, the Act of 1487 does not lie in the main 
line of historical evolution, but is a minor episode in the history of the Star 
Chamber. It is, however, important upon other grounds, (i) It introduced 
afresh into the practice of the Council, with statutory sanction, the ancient but 
in part abandoned procedure of examining defendants upon oath^. (2) It im- 
posed a statutory duty upon certain members of the Council to attend and 
hear cases which the general body of the Council, since they received no salary 
for their attendance, were probably unwilling to dischar^*. (3) After 1487 
the judges and other persons learned in the law do not appear to have been 
summoned any longer to the Council Table when judicial business was 
being dealt with, but only to the Star Chamber^. (4) The Act gave statutory 
sanction to the issue of writs of subpoena and privy seal, reviving in a 
different form powers already given in the case of 'great riots, extortions, 
oppressions, and grievous offences' by the temporary Act of 1453* which 
had expired in 1461. This last was in all probability the main object of the 

There seems to be little doubt that the Star Chamber was not at first 
organically distinct from the Council 8. It is true that the Statute of Liveries 
of 1504 [p. 9J provides that offenders may be proceeded against by in- 
formation 'before the Chancellor of England or the Keeper of the King's 
Great Seal in the Star Chamber, or before the King in his Bench, or before 
the King and his Council attending upon his most royal person wheresoeVef 
he be, so that there be three of the same Council at the least, of the which two 
shall be lords spiritual or temporal'; but the distinction here drawn is between 
the Council at Westminster and the Council following the King, and there 
is nothing to suggest the existence of a separate tribunal of uniform com- 
position called the Star Chamber. 

The 'Book of Entries' contains records of Star Chamber proceeding*!^ 
well as of Council proceedings, and if the Star Chamber had regarded itself 
as really separate from the Council the elementary principles of business 

I would have required that it should equip itself with a separate book. During 
Henry VI I's- reign, at any rate, there could have been no clear distinction 
between the administrative Council and the judicial Council^ although the 
statutory committee of 1487 sometimes acted for the whole Council in the 
matters assigned to it by the Act. A distinction existed between the Privy 
Council and the King's Council, for we find Sir Robert Wingfield saying 
•n I 535j ' I have been sworn of [the King's] Council above twenty years and 

1 Leadam, i, p. Ixvi. 2 See p. 295 below. 

8 Leadam, i, pp. xxxii and Ixiv. * /i. i, p xiyji 

^li.Up.Wi. « 3iHenr.Vl,c. 2. 

^ Leadam, i, pp. kiv and kxi. 8 /^. i^ __ j^j^jij^ ^jj^^ 

* Scofield, p. 27. 

lib tilts iUKY 253 

of his Privy Council above fourteen years'^; but the distinction is not 
between an organ of justice and an organ of administration, nor does it 
depend upon the place where the business was transacted — it is entirely a 
matter of composition. A meeting to which only Councillors were sum- 
moned, whether it took place at Westminster or elsewhere, and whether it j 
handled judicial or administrative business, was a meeting of the Privy; 
Council; if it included other persons it would be a meeting of the King's 
Council as a whole. 

It is possible that a differentiation begins when the Ordinances of 1526 
distinguished between the 'Council at Court' which followed the King and 
the 'King's Council in the Star Chamber ' which remained at Westminster^. 
Even then it was not carried very far, for the two bodies were in close 
correspondence, and sometimes they were united into a single body^, the 
term 'privy council' being often applied to both. In course of time, however, 
the separation became more complete, the term 'privy council' being ex- 
clusively assigned to that branch of the King's Council which, consisting of 
Privy Councillors only, was becoming increasingly absorbed in politics and 
administration, while the other branch, which now usually included judges 
and 'ordinary councillors,' was being specialised to judicial business as the 
Star Chamber. If this view is correct, the modern Privy Council is not 
directly descended from the medieval Council, but is a special development 
of a particular branch of it. The true heir to the medieval Council is the 
Star Chamber, and that was abolished in 1641 and never restored. 

It is not easy to determine the point in time at which the Star Chamber 
and the Privy Council became organically separate. It was natural that a 
body exercising judicial functions and sitting regularly at a definite place 
should acquire the character of a separate tribunal, but the sepkratjon was 
gradual, and was probably not complete until the reign of Elizabeth. Perhaps 
the earliest indication of this organic separation may be assigned to 1570,/ 
when the Council is found asserting its authority against what now appears > 
almost as a rival court [p. 261]. The fundamental distinction between them( 
came to be that the proceedings of the Council Table were private, while) 
the Star Chamber was an 'open' as distinguished from a 'privy' council, 
and its proceedings had all the formality and publicity of a court of law 
[p. 262]-. Other differences were that after 1487 the judges and other legal 
essperts were summoned to assist at the Star Chamber and not at the Council 
Tablej/and that although the Council conducted informal examinations, it 
did mt, like the Star Chamber, possess legal authority to administer interro- 
gatories to be answered upon oath*. / 

1 I. «»<//•., viii, no. 225. / * gee p. 217 above. 

* It is possible that the fluctuations in the numbers attending the Star Chamber 
are to be explained by the fact that when the King was absent from London, 
business would be done by the statutory committee or by the part of the Council that 
did' not follow him, but that the larger numbers would reappear when he returned 
to Westminster (see Bradford, p. 1 5). 

* Leadam, i, p. Ivi. 


§ I. Composition 

The Courto^jl^iy^^jijggj^gyf^as supposed to be held in the presence of 
the King, folT^ffiianempty chair was set^; but here, as in the Chancery 
and at the Council Table, the Chancellor was in tj^^^ ^ 
pejioa^e went to the Court in pro(S?8Sion with great pomp, the mace and 
tl^'^iSt Seal of England being carried before him^; and he alone directed 
the order of proceeding and determined the question of costs. As presiding 
judge he enjoyed the privilege of speaking with his head covered, and he 
gave the casting vote if the Court was equally divided. For his attendance, 
in the Star Chamber he received an additional salary of ;£200 a year. The 
other judges of the Court were the Privy Councillors ex officio; and the two 
Chief Justices, of the King's Bench and the Common Pleas, together with 
other judges and persons learned in the law, acted as assessors, being specially 
sworn in for the Star Chamber although they were not members of the 
Privy Council. Down to 1529 and probably later, the Court consisted some- 
times and for some purposes of the statutory committee named in the Act 
of 1487, but this imposed no restriction upon the composition of the Court, 
which often included a much larger number of judges. There are traces of 
a claim by all members of the House of Lords to attend the Court, but this 
does not appear to have been sustained^. 

The chief officer of the Court was the Clerk of the Star Chamber, who 
was originally the Clerk to the Council*. This office was in the gift of the 
Crown, and the holder enjoyed a salary of 40 marks and 'two livery gowns, 
one of damask, the other of wrought velvet'; but the fees of the suitors 
made it so lucrative that Bacon estimated its value as ;£2000 a year, and in 
1589 obtained the reversion of it for himself, but it did not fall in to him 
until 1608. It was the duty of the Clerk to keep the records of the Court, 
but in later years the actual work of recording was performed by a registrar 
and a staff of under-clerks. There were also attorneys attached to the Court, 
at first only two, one for the plaintiff and another for the defendant, but 
later on a third was appointed, and eventually a fourth. These were paid by 
fees. The usher, who was usually also usher of the Exchequer, was required 
'to keep the place where the Court is kept comely for so great a presence 
and safe for the records which are there laid,' to summon the suitors, aind 
'also to make silence and to attend to the Lords for all things they have 
used.'6 He enjoyed the use of 'a convenient house for his habitation,' and 
various fees and perquisites in addition to 'his fee from his Majesty.' There 
was also a steward 'of the Lords' diet at the Star Chamber,' as well as a 
butler and a kitchen staff. On Star Chamber days (see p. 255) there were 
elaborate dinners for the Lords at the public expense®. 

1 Leadam, 1, p. Ivii. Henry VII and James I often attended the Star Chamber; 
HenY VIII only once (Bradford, p. 17). On 20 June, 1616, James I made a long 
speech there, 'to the admiration of the hearers, speaking more like an angel than a 
man, and ended by promising 'to frequent that place oftener' (letter of Lord George 
Carew, quoted in Scofield, p. 58). 

^ On this, and on the other officials of the Star Chamber see Scofield, pp. 61-68. 
Leadam, i, pp. xl-xli. 4 See p. 219 above. 

Hudson, quoted m Scofield, p. 67. « See Baldwin, p. 453 and note. 


§ 2. Procedure 

The Council when dealing with judicial business sat only during the 
law termsi; and the Star Chamber, deriving from the Council and following 
its practice, maintained the same general rule, although in cases of emergency 
it would sometimes sit out of term time^. The appointed days varied, but 
under Elizabeth the regular Star Chamber days were Wednesdays and 
Fridays^, when the Lords sat to hear cases in public. There was also a good 
deal of routine business transacted on other days, either by a committee or 
by the Clerk of the Court*. 

Pro ce e dings in the Ster Climber usijm.lhrbg|^^ ^/'''•H of com- 

plaint' en?ereCT''BI7TKe']^amS?^fwKia^ 

■ and'sigffrnifjnSSS^Iira^^ endorsed and filed by the Clerk. This bill 
would recite his grievances against the defendant, and ask that a writ of 
subpoena under privy seal might be issued, summoning him to appear before 
the Court. If he failed to appear, a writ of attachment was issued to the Sheriff 
of his county to bring him before the Court, and if this failed, he could be 
apprehended under a commission of rebellion, or in the last resort by a 
serjeant-at-arms sent from the Court with powers of search*. When the 
defendant appeared before the Court, he was required to make answer upon 
oath, and this answer was also engrossed on parchment and signed by coun- 
sel'. If the defendant refused to answer, he was imprisoned, and if he still 
refused he was held to have confessed. If on the other hand he made answer, 
as would usually be the case, the plaintiff was allowed four days in which to 
draw up interrogatories for his examination, and to these he had to make 
answer upon oath, a refusal being punishable with imprisonment, and if he 
still refused to answer he was held to be guilty. When answer had been made 
to the written interrogatories, both sides produced their witnesses, who were 
usually examined in private*. A day was then appointed for a hearing in open 
court, and the judges, having all the depositions before them, heard the 
defendant's answers read and then proceeded to a decision. At this public 
hearing both sides were allowed to be represented by counsel. 

^ 'That out of term time no thing be sped in the Council but such thing as for 
the good of the King and of his land asketh necessary and hasty speed, and may not 
goodly be abiden unto the term time' (Order of 1426; Nicolas, iii, 216). 

^ 'If any cause be begun to be heard in the term time, and for length or difficulty 
cannot be sentenced within the term, it may be continued and sentenced after the 
term' (Coke; see p. 292 below). 

3 Scofield, p. 69. 

* li. p. 70. 

* The plaintiff might be the Attorney-General acting on behalf of the Crown. 
« Scofield, pp. 73-4. 

' Sometimes the plaintiff made a further 'replication' to the defendant's answer, 
but this occurs rarely, and as he could make no new charges it was in any case a 
mere formality (Leadam, i, p. xxxiii). 

8 The usual procedure was for the Court to issue a commission to local magnates 
to examine the witnesses on the spot, in order to avoid the trouble and expense of 
bringing them up to London, and cases occur in which such a commission would 
be authorised to come to a final decision (Bradford, p. 14). This method of delegation 
is specially characteristic of the Council (see p. 228 above). 


This was the ordinary procedure of the Court, and it was based upon 
the Act of 1487, but sometimes a more summary procedure was adopted 
which was not authorised by the Act but depended entirely upon the ancient 
practice of the Council. The Court, acting upon private information or 
mere suspicion, would send a pursuivant to arrest the defendant without 
the form of a bill of complaint. He would then be examined in private, 
although not upon oath, and if in the course of his examination he made 
any damaging admissions he was liable to be condemned and sentenced at 
once, ex ore sm — on his own confession. This was known as 'the proceeding 
by ore tenus^\V\i\% procedure differed fundamentally from that of the courts 
of common lawQl" these the mouth of the accused was closed, often to his 
own salvation, "But in the Star Chamber the whole of the proceedings were 
grounded upon his examination, and if he could be entrapped ijnto admissions, 
so much the better for the course of justice. The system was much better 
adapted to catch the guilty than to protect the innocent, and even Mill, 
the Clerk of the Court, speaking of the summary procedure, admits himself 
to be 'one that by good experience have found many mischiefs mingled in 
that manner of dealing.'^ 

The punish ment of death co uld not be inflicted by the Star Chamber, 
but It C(MiMQijja«jaaftH|Sein*^^ 

pillory, whipping, branding, cutting off the ears, sntHngmenoSe, or umer- 
going some form of public degradation. Some of the punishments were in- 
geniously devised to fit the crime, as in the case of a prisoner who, objecting 
on religious grounds to eating swine's flesh, was ordered to be fed exclusively 
upon pork^ In the reign of Henry VIII John Tyndal and Thomas Pat- 
more were brought before the Court for circulating William Tyndal's 
translation of the New Testament, and were not only fined the fancy sum 
of ;^i8,&40. oj. \od. — the exact equivalent of the ransom paid by the clergy 
of the Province of York under the Submission Act*, which had then not 
long been passed — but were also 'sentenced to ride with their faces to the 
horse's tail, having papers on their heads and the New Testaments and other 
books which they had dispersed pinned thick on their clothing: at the 
Standard in Cheapside they were to throw these books into a fire made for 
the purpose.'* The fines were sometimes out of all proportion to the offender's 
estate, — ^;^SOOO,;£i 0,000, and in one case ;£3i,ooo; but these were imposed 
rather as an expression of the Court's abhorrence of the offence than with 
any intention of demanding payment in fulL The ordinary fine ranged from 
;^5 to ;^ioo, and it was usual twice in the year, at the end of the Trinity 
Term and again at the end of the Hilary Term, to set apart a day for con- 
sidering the mitigation of fines. The corporal punishments imposed were 
often remitted by the Crown*. But nothing was done under the Stuarts by 

1 Leadam, i, p. kvii. 2 Scofield, p. 76 n. 

* A case of 161 8; see Bum, p. 79. 

* See p. 22 above. 

5 Scofiel4 P- 77- Rushworth (ii, 479). refers to a case of 36 Eliz. in which the 
defendattt was 'semtenced, for beaiting his grandfather, to be whipt before the 
picture of his grandfaither, he being unable to come to the place where it was to 
be executed.' 

* Scofield, p. 79. 



way of fine and corporal punishment that had not been already done under 
the Tudors. The later-unpoDularii-v of the Court was due to a change in 

the popular point oFvie^ananof 

§ 3. Business of the Star Chamber 

The Court of Star Chamber was specially concerned ,>iv;ith riots and 
breaches of the P^jg&abuti^iurisdiction covered a far wider W^^ pun- 
Igned T PlT Knl^itr^ve pervCT^ sSs^f iaSi'''^i*>isaig%l HiiHI^'" 

V ll's reign certain rawyel'i''''??@f'l?'f5P88IStWted in the Court for giving counsel 
against the King. Ministers of state were summoned to the Star Chamber to 
answer for their conduct^) and religious offences were dealt with there^- 
Cases also occuj^ murder, robbery;. _P_eriury, debt, se duction and abduction, ) 

its lat^t-^ajrs, when disorder had been successfully suppressed, there was a 
great mcrgase in die_activity of the Court in the iggulajion of trade, jnd 
especiall y in the control of the food su mlyorTwhich public_tranquiilit;^_so 
largel y depe nded^. It also supei-visedguilds and municipalitiS, and purushed / 
breaches 6f the ordinances relating to printing. Star Chamber cases illus- \ 
trating some of its activities are printed on pp. 263-78 below. 

The Star Chamber not only made a special business of punishing offend- 
ers against royal proclamations, but alsftdsWfliriJteJSfeUj^ 

penaltjgyjd^e are scarcely distmguishable from Orders in Council, and 
may be regarded as an exercise of the original authority of the King in 
Council from which the Court derived so large a part of its powersT^here 
are decrees concerning trading companies, as for instance a decree of 29 
January, 1577, deciding a controversy between the Compaiw of Haber- 
dashers and the hat and feltmakers in or near the City of London, and 
placing the feltmakers under the control of the Haberdashers' Company 
under penalty of contempt of court*. The most important of these decrees 
were those regulating printing, and so establishing a censorship of the press 

[P-279]- , 

Although the Star Chamber was a judicial tribunal, it never quite lost 
its political character as a council of state, and ambassadors were sometimes 

^ Cases of this are referred to in Scofield, p. 4$. 

* William Davison, Elizabeth's Secretary, who was disgraced by her on a charge 
of having carried out the execution of Mary Queen of Scots without instructions, 
was brought before the Star Chamber in 1587 for 'misprision and contempt,' and 
was eventually sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower and a fine of 10,000 marks. 
Empson also, according to Hudson (p. 16) 'was first blasted in this Court.' 

* Under Henry VIII the inhabitants of Axminster prosecuted Philip Gammon 
for heresy, accusing him of having said, among other things, that 'the blessing of a 
bishop was as good as that of an old horse' (Scofield, p. 47). Cf. a case of 12 Jac. I, 
where Sir John Yorke was fined ^^looo for permitting in his house a play or interlude 
representing a disputation between a Popish priest and a Protestant minister, in 
which the priest had the best of the argument and was carried off by an angel, while the 
minister left the stage in the custody of a fiend from the bottomless pit (ii. p. 47«.). 

* Bradford, p. 33, and Bum, passim. ^ Leadam, 11. p. xxi et passim. 

* Scofield, p. 53. 




received there and speeches made before the Lords on occasions of special 
solemnity. For instance, on 28 November, 1567, the Lord Keeper gave an 
address m the Star Chamber 'before the Council and others' touching 
seditious books^; and a letter of 1600 [p. 278] gives an account of 'a very 
grave speech' on various matters delivered in the Star Chamber by the Lord 
Keeper, apparently to the judges of assize about to proceed on circuit^. 

The Star Chamber was tyrannical, because it tended to become 'a court 
of politicians enforcing a policy, not a court of judges administering the 
lavir'^; but there can be little doubt that in the Tudor period, at any rate, its 
jurisdiction vfus on the whole beneficial. It had two functions of high im- 
portance to perform which no tribunal except one composed as this was 
composed and proceeding as this proceeded could have discharged efficiently. 
(It had to put dow^a-anarchy, baronial and other, and to supplement the 
^defects of the common law. The work was well done and the earlier writers 
>^re loud in their praise of the Court [pp. 284—98]. 

(i) The Act of 1487 

Pro Camera Stellata ' 

^n Act giving the Court of Star Chamber Authority to ■punish 
divers Misdemeanours 

The King our Sovereign Lord remembereth how by unlawful 
maintenances, giving of liveries signs and tokens, and retainders 
by indenture promises oaths writing or otherwise, embraceries* 
of his subjects, untrue demeanings of sheriffs in making of panels 
and other untrue returns, by taking of money by juries, by great 
riots and unlawful asseni'blies, the policy and good rule of this 
realm is almost subdued, and for the none punishment of this in- 
convenience and by occasion of the premises nothing or little 
may be found by inquiry, whereby the laws of the land in execu- 
tion may take little effect, to the increase of murders, robberies, 
perjurieis, and unsureties of all men living and losses of their 
lands and goods, to the great displeasure of Almighty God; Be it 
therefore ordained for reformation of the premises by the authority 
of this Parliament, That the Chancellor and Treasurer of England 
for the time being and Keeper of the King's Privy Seal, or two of 
them, calling to them a bishop and a temporal lord of the King's 
most honourable Council and the two Chief Justices of the King's 
Bench and Common Pleas for the time being, or other two 

^ Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547-80, p. 302. 

2 Cf. the report of a similar speech of 21 June, 1632, printed in Cases in the 
Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission, ed. S. R. Gardiner (Camden Society, 
1886), p. 176. For other illustrations of the ceremonial use of the Star Chamber, 
see Scofield, pp. 55-60. 3 Maitland, p. 263. 

* 'Embracery' is the 'actual or attempted corrupt or forcible influencing of 
jurors' (see Winfield, pp. 161-174). 

THE ACTS OF 1487 AND 1529 259 

Justices in their absence, upon bill or information put to the said 
Chancellor for the King or any other against any person for any 
misbehaving afore rehearsed, have authority to call before them 
by writ or privy seal the said misdoers, and them and other by 
their discretions to whom the truth may be known to examine, 
and such as they find therein defective to punish them after their 
demerits, after the form and efi^ect of statutes thereof made, in 
like manner and form as they should and ought to be punished 
if they were thereof convict after the due order of the law. . . . 

3 Henr. VII, c. i : Statutes of the Realm, ii, 509. 

(ii\ The A ct of i«; 29 

The Privy Council is here referred to as the Council attending the Icing's person. 
See p. 217 above. 

An Act that the President of the King's Council shall he associate 
with the Chancellor and Treasurer of England and the Keeper of the 

King's Privy Seal 
[After reciting 2 Henr. VII, c. i, the Act proceeds'] Nevertheless 
in the same good and profitable statute the President of the King's 
most honourable Council for the time being attending upon his 
most noble and royal person is omitted and not named ... to be one 
of the said persons that should have authority to call before them 
such misdoers so offending the King's laws in any of the premises 
as is before rehearsed. Be it therefore . . . enacted, that from hence- 
forth the Chancellor, Treasurer of England, and the President of 
the King's most honourable Council attending upon his most 
honourable person for the time being, and the Keeper of the King's 
Privy Seal, or two of them, calling unto them one bishop and one 
temporal lord of the King's most honourable Council, and the two 
Chief Justices of the King's Bench and the Common Pleas for the 
time being, or other two of the King's Justices in their absence, 
upon any bill or information hereafter to be put in^, the Chancellor 
of England, Treasurer, President of the King's said most honour- 
able Council, or Keeper of the King's Privy Seal for the tirtie being, 
for any misbehaving before rehearsed, from henceforth have full 
power and authority to call before them by writ oP privy seal such 
misdoers, and them and other by their discretion by whom the truth 

^ The Act of 1487 had required bills to be put to the Chancellor; this Act 
allows them to be put, as an alternative to the Chancellor, to any one of the three 
great officers named (Leadam, 11, p. xiii). 

* The printed copies of the Act read 'or.' The Act of 1487 also reads 'w^rit or 
privy seal,' the 'writ' being a writ o{ subpoena under privy seal and the 'privy seal' 
being letters of privy seal. The effect of reading 'of would be to exclude the latter, 
and after 1529 letters of privy seal do not appear to be used. It is possible that 'of 
was an error in the first instance which came to be accepted as having authority {ib.). 



may be known to examine, and such as they shall find defective 
to punish them after their demerits after the form and eiFect of 
the said former statute and of all other statutes thereof tofore made 
and not repealed nor expired, in like manner and form as they 
should and ought to be punished if they were thereof convicted 
after the due order in the King's laws. . . . 

21 Henr. VIII, c. 20: Statutes of the Realms iii, 304. 

(3) The Merchant Adventurers v. The Staplers, 1504 

Here we have a large Council giving judgment in the Star Chamber on a matter 
not covered by the Act of 1487. 

[At Knole, 17 December, 1504J 

Exemplification at the request of the society of 'merchauntes 
adventurers' of: 

(i) The tenor of a judgment given by the King and Council 
in the 'Sterre Ghambre' at Westminster, 26 November last, as to 
certain disputes between the said merchants adventurers and the 
merchants of the staple of Calais, whereby either party making 
any use of the privileges of the other, should be subject to all 
the regulations and penalties by which that other is bound. 

(2) The names of the lords spiritual and temporal and others 
who were present with the King in Council at the giving of the 
above judgment, to wit : The Archbishop of Canterbury, Chan- 
cellor; the Archbishop of York, Treasurer of England; the 
Bishop of Winchester, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Bishop 
of Lincoln, the Bishop of Norwich, the Bishop of Coventry and 
Lichfield, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Bishop of Rochester, 
the Duke of Buckingham, the Marquis of Dorset, the Earl of 
Arundel, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Ormonde; Lord Daub'eney, 
the King's Chamberlain; Lord Abergavenny, Lord Dudley, Lord 
Hastings, Lord Herbert, Lord Darcy, Lord Willoughby, Lord 
Dacre of the South; I^ord Fyneux, Chief Justice of the King's 
Bench; Lord Frowyk, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; Master 
RouthalP, the King's Secretary; Thomas LovelP, knight; 
Richard Guildford, knight; Edward Poynings^, knight; Thomas 
Bourchier, knight; Edmund Dudley*; Master West, Doctor of 
Laws^; Robert Drury®, knight; Robert Lytton, knight; Gilbert 

* Bishop of Durham, 1509. 

2 Speaker of the House of Commons, 1485-8; President of the Council, 1502. 
^ Lord Deputy of Ireland, 1494, and the promoter of 'Poynings' Law.' 

* The notorious Dudley was President of the Council in 1 506 (fialendar of 
Patent Rolls, 1 494-1 509, p. 471). 

s Probably Nicolas West, LL.D. f . 1485; Bishop of Ely, 1515-33. 

* Sir Robert Drury was a barrister of Lincoln's Inn. He was Speaker of the 
House of Commons in 1495. 


Talbot, knight; Walter Hungerford, knight; Master James 
Stanley, Clerk; John Ryseley, knight; Henry Wyatt^; Master 
Hatton, Doctor of Laws; Master Vaughan^, Doctor of Laws; 
Master Meautis, the King's Secretary in the French tongue. 

Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1 494-1 509, p. 388. 


(4) The Council to Sir William Paulet, 1570 

This shews that the Star Chamber had become sufficiently separated from the 
Council to be regarded as a rival Court. 

[At Hampton Court, 21 December, 1570] 

A letter to Sir William Paulet^, knight, in answer of this of 
the 4th of this month, whereby he seems to have forgotten or 
mistaken their order of proceeding between him and John Yonge 
at Chenies, whereat they cannot a little marvel, for as he knows 
the cause that moved them to call them both before them grew 
upon complaint made by him against the said Yonge, and having 
heard what either of them could say for themselves they thought 
meet to enjoin him, being the complainant, to put in writing such 
matter as he had to charge the said Yonge withal, and to bring 
or send the same within 8 or 10 days, to the end they might see 
what the said Yonge could answer thereunto, for which purpose 
he was commanded to attend about the Court until his bill of 
complaint might be brought hither; and perceiving now not only 
that he hath not observed the same, but contrary thereunto 
means to prosecute the cause in Star Chamber, they cannot but 
find this manner of dealing very strange, and think that he hath 
therein much forgotten himself; like as* they mean not to suffer 
the authority of this Table to be so much prejudiced as to endure 
that any matter of complaint brought and dealt by them should 
by the complainant himself be removed to any other Court before 
the same be heard by their Lordships and ordered, so he is re- 
quired with all speed to exhibit his said bill of complaint to the 
intent the said Mr Yonge may answer thereunto. . . . 

Dasent, Jets of the Privy Council, vii, 404. 

^ Knighted, 1509. 

2 Possibly Edward Vaughan, LL.D. Cambridge; Bishop of St David's, 1509. 

* Afterwards third Marquis of Winchester. 

* Since. 



^ (5) Sir John Smyth to Lord Burghley, 1597 

This shews that at this time the Star Chamber, unlike the Couftcil Table, was 
a public and open Court. 

[Sir John Smyth's 'railing letter from the Tower' to Lord Burghley, 

26 May, 1597] 

... I never offended any couflcillor or nobleman now living, 
but only you and yours in my drunkenness, and therefore I do 
not expect any harm by their means but only by yours; so likewise 
I cannot expect any favour, whatsoever means I should make, 
although I were at some liberty, without your furtherance, as 
your authority, as is well known through the kingdom, is 
exceeding great, and very few dare presume to favour me or any 
other man contrary to your liking, . . . 

. . . You have divers times asked by what warrant I would 
lead the people at Colchester; to which I say that at that time it 
was well known to most of those present that I was not in a case 
to lead any men, but rather a flock of goslingSj I could not tell 
whither. ... By all the rest of my drunken doings that afternoon 
and evening following, till I had sleep, it may be apparent to all 
men that have any charity in them, and are not carried away with 
private passion, to consider in what poor estate of brain, through 
excess of wine, I then stood. All these circumstances considered, 
I think my petitions to you might have prevailed if you had had 
any charitable meaning towards me: one was either that you 
would recover her Majesty's favour towards me; or that I might 
be called before the Council Table to answer objections against 
me, and according to the judgment of the Council receive any 
further, punishment; or else, after so long an imprisonment and 
great affliction, and in a manner my utter undoing, receive 
greater favour; any of which I think you might in right and 
without passion have deemed a great deal better for increasing 
your honour, — with a voluntary satisfaction to be made by me, 
without any great decay of my good fame, which I esteem more 
than my life, — rather than bring me into a public audience in the 
Star Chamber; there, after so long imprisonment and other great 
afflictions, by the cunning of lawyers to aggravate and turn 
offences committed in drunkenness as if they had been committed 
when sober, to increase my imprisonment with unpayable fines 
and heap afflictions upon afflictions. . . . 

Calendar of State Papers {Domestic), E/iz. 1595-7, p. 421. 



(6) The Lords' Diet in the Star Chamber 

From a paper in Lord Burghley's hand. 
Anno, 1 559, the ordinary charge of a dinner ^^4. i os. or 

1579 ;^8 

1590 O7 

On Friday, 24 June, 1509, 'Bread, Ale, Beer, Wine, 
Ttyngi, Blote-fish^, Pike, Flounders, Soles, Por- 
poises, Butter and Eggs, Strawberries, Flour, 
Salt, Herbs, Spices, Peasecods^'... 

Boat-hire and washing of the napery 

Wood and Coals ... 

Cook's Wages 

[Other expenses] ... 

or ;^io 
or ^18 





Is- 9-f- 

The charge of a Flesh Dinner at the Star Chamber, 
5 Feb. 1588 




£i 10 7 





Beef, 18 stone at 25, 

Teals, 18 


the stone 


Snipes, 18 


Mutton, 1 3 joints . , . 


Tame Pigeons, 24 . . . 


Veal, 9 joints 



Black Birds, 24 




Rabbits, 4 ... 


Three Turkeys . . . 


Rabbit Suckers^, 1 2 


Ten Capons 



T-arks, 48 



Pullets of Goose, 9 



Brawn for Collops... 



Pheasants, 3 




Hernshaws*, 3 





Mallards, 8 



With divers other 

Partridges, 11 



things of smaller 

Woodcocks, II 



rates, so that this 

Plovers, 18 


dinner comes to 
;^i8. 5s. 2d. 

Quoted in J. S. 

Burn, The Star Chamber, 

pp. 24- 


(7) Cases in the Star Chamber 

(i) Fining of juries 
Attorney-General v. Parre and others, 1489 
This is a case of proceedings against a jury for perjtiry. The ordinary kind of 
perjury was a matter for the ecclesiastical courts, and it only came before the royal 

1 'Tring' is a kind of small plovaf, but this must be a misreading, perhaps for 
ling. * Bloaters. * Pea-pods. 

* Herons. ' Very young rabbits. 


• . • . 

courts when it affected the King. But as the assizes were a royal ordinance, perjury 

by a jury there was an offence against the King, and an attaint would lie. In this case 
^ the original jury of 12 was tried by another jury of 24 at least, and if the verdict 
of the 24 was against them, they were arrested and imprisoned, and their lands and 
goods were forfeited to the Crown. By o Henr. VII, c. 24, these tremendous 
penalties were reduced to a substantial fine^ But perjury by juries could also be dealt 
with by the Council, and later by the Star Chamber; and from perjury by juries its 
jurisdiction came to be extended to perjuries of all kinds^^ 

The original information against the jury is not extant, and only their answer to 
the information survives. 

This is the answer of William Parre [and eleven others] to 
the information put against them by Mr Hobart the King's 

The said William Parre [and others] say that truth it is that 
they were empanelled upon the acquittal of the said John Wood 
and William Frank for the matter in the said information specified 
before the King's Judges and at the time and place in the said 
information specified; howbeit, they had such evidences given 
them at that time for the proof that the said John and William 
were not guilty of that escape whereof before that time they were 
indicted, that in their consciences they thought plainly they could 
no otherwise do without they should have been forsworn but to 
do as they did in the acquittal of the said John and William of 

the said escape, for they say one , the wife of John Ed- 

mundes, the under-keeper of the King's Bench, testified to the 
said William Parre [etc.] the said John and William, after the 
said John Day was arrested for the felony in the said information 
specified, delivered the said John Day to the keeping of the King's 
Bench, and there as a prisoner was received, and there he con- 
tinued by the space of 3 days unto the time he escaped thence 
after that that the said John Wood and William Frank were law- 
fully discharged of him; without that^ the said William Parre 
[etc.] acquitted the said John and William of the said felony by 
any corrupt mean or that the said William Parre [etc.] ever had 
any such evidence or information given them which should have 
discharged their conscience to [have] attainted the said John and 
William of the said escape, and without that the said William 
Parre [etc.] were perjured in giving the said verdict to their 
knowledge, all which matters the said William Parre [etc.] at all 
times are ready to prove as this Court will award them, and pray- 
eth to be dismissed out of that same with their reasonable costs 
and damages for their wrong, vexation, and trouble in that behalf 
Leadam, Select Cases in the Star Chamber (Selden Society), i, 18. 

1 Leadam, i, pp. cxxxiii-cxxxv. a See note on p. 274 below. 


(2) Riot ^ 

Abbot of Eynesham v. Harcourt and others, 1503 

This case is a good illustration of the social disorder which the Star Chamber 
under the Tudors did so much to put down. The charges against the defendant 
include most of the offences referred to in the preamble of the Act of 1487. 

To the King our Sovereign Lord 

Humbly sheweth, unto your noble Highness your daily 
orator Miles, Abbot of your monastery of Eynesham within the 
county of Oxford, of | divers riots, extortions, wrpngs, and in- 
juries done to him a|id his convent by Sir Robert Harcourt, 
knight, and divers other evil-disposed persons to him belonging 
and retained. 

First, where one John Walsh, otherwise called Sawyer, a 
servant to the said Sir Robert, desired and prayed instantly one 
Dan^ Roger Wallingford, one of the commons^ of the said monas- 
tery having the rule of the waters and nets of your said monastery, 
that he might have his draught-net to fish his waters of the 
Thames side, having therefor as it is accustomed in the country, 
that is to say the third part; and when the said water was drawed 
and fished, the said Dan Roger left the poising-stones^ of the 
said draught-net in an island pertaining to the farm of the said 
John, and brought home his net with him again, which was the 
1 9th day of September last past. And the 1 6th day of February 
then next following, the said Dan Roger and one Christopher, 
servant of the said monastery, of the age of 60 years and more, 
came into the said island with the boat of the said monastery for 
to fetch the said stones again, and the forsaid John Walsh, per- 
ceiving them being there, came privily, while they were in the 
said island gathering the said stones, and took away their said 
boat, and seditiously rowed the said boat away, intending to have 
destroyed them, and so left them there like to have been perished, 
for it was cold weather and frost. And the said Dan Roger and 
Christopher were environed with water by the space of half a 
mile. They perceiving the malice of the said John, cried for help, 
and so at last one Ralph Murray heard and came to them with a 
boat and carried them to land, or else that night they had been 
destroyed for cold and with the water. 

Also the 1 5th day of March the said John Walsh came with 
another boat of his own into the several* water within the orchard 

1 For 'dominus'; cf. 'Dom^' still used as a title for monks of the Benedictine 
order. ^ I-'- co-moynes, fellow-monks. 

* Stones for weighting the net. * Separate, i.e. private. 


of the said monastery and there tied his said boat, and then the 
officers of your said monastery, perceiving the said boat there, 
for the hurt, harm, and great damage done to your said monastery, 
as fetting^ there divers times wiles^ and nets of your said monas- 
tery, took a lock and locked his said boat to a tree; and when the 
said John perceived that his boat was fast locked that he could 
not have it away, he returned home to his house and fetched a 
bill and an hanger and came again forcibly into the said orchard 
over an high wall, there meeting with two of the monks menacing 
and threatening them, calling them churls and thieves, and upon 
that did smite at one of the said monks with the said bill and 
smote him down to the ground, and his fellow, perceiving the 
malicious disposition of the said John, avoided, and the said John 
pursued after him to have slain him. 

Also the 23rd day of the said month, at Tenebrae Wednesday' 
at service time, Martin Whithill {and others] . . . servants retained 
with Sir Robert Harcourt, came with force and arms, that is to 
say with bills, swords, and daggers, and other weapons, and 
entered into the said orchard against the King's peace, coming 
over the wall of the said orchard, with other evil-disposed persons 
being without the wall ready to assist them, to the number of 1 1 
persons . . . bringing with them an axe to hew down the said tree 
that the boat was locked to, and so forcibly to carry it away and 
to be avenged on such persons as did arrest the said boat; and at 
such season as they were there was four of the monks walking in 
the said orchard, and they seeing them there they returned back 
to the Prior and shewed hiitt of the said persons, but what they 
intended they knew not. Whereupon the said Prior came to the 
said persons and enquired of them why they came there so sus- 
piciously over so high great walls being ditched fifteen foot broad 
in such forcible manner, and they answered, 'Whorson churls, 
deliver us the boat that ye have arrested, or else we will have it 
whether ye will or no, and also be revenged upon you ere we 
depart this ground.' And the said Prior, seeing them so wilfully 
and unreasonably disposed, satisfied them with good and cold* 
words. Whereupon they departed. 

Also the I oth day of April then next ensuing . , . came Thomas 
Cater [and others] . . . with other persons unknown, servants re- 
tained to [the] said Sir Robert Harcourt, into the town of Eyne- 
sham with force and arms, that is to say also with bows and 
arrows, swords, bucklers, halberds, bills, and daggers, and then 

1 Stealing. 2 Snares. 

* The Wednesday before Easter. * Cool. 


and there went into divers houses and sought and enquired 
if any servant pertaining to the Abbey might be found. And so 
it fortuned that they met with an innocent body, one John Had- 
ley, clerk of the church of the said monastery, having a bottle in 
his hand to fetch oil for the said church, and there violently the 
said Thomas Cater smote the said John Hadley with a dagger and 
sore hurt and wounded him on the head, whereupon the said 
clerk returned into your said monastery and shewed the Prior 
and convent, being at supper, how they had beaten and hurt him, 
and that they were coming after him; upon which shewing, the 
said Prior did send for the constable and the tithing-men to see 
the peace kept, and thereupon the said constable and tithing- 
men charged the said riotous and evil-disposed persons to keep 
the peace in God's name and the King's, and they defied them 
and put them in jeopardy of their lives, and so incontinent came 
to the gates of the said monastery and shot in arrows, putting the 
Prior and Subprior in jeopardy of their lives, and hewed at the 
said gates with their bills, and lifted them then out of the hooks 
with their halberds. Then they within the gates, as the porter 
with other, set timber against the gate and did under-set it^ 
again; and then they took their halberds and hewed at their legs 
under the gate, and then they made an outcry and called for 
straw and furzes for to set fire on the gates and on the said mon- 
astery. Moreover the said evil-doers afterward went to Stanton 
and raised up more people that night, and drave the said Prior 
to ordain men for the safeguard of them and the monastery to 
watch all night unto the next morrow that they sent for two 
justices of the peace. Master William Harcourt and Mr Edge- 
cumbe of Oxford. Upon the which Master William Harcourt 
came to the town of Eynesham beforesaid and charged the con- 
stables and tithing-men to see good rule kept, rebuking one John 
Murray, William Wood, and other, pertaining to Sir Robert 
Harcourt, to suffer and maintain any such evil-disposed persons, 
which he would lay to their charge hereafter. And not withstand- 
ing the premises, the said Sir Robert Harcourt with his adherents, 
of very pure malice, without any occasion or lawful cause given 
unto him or any of his, hath untruly indicted certain of the monks 
of the said monastery at Islip of felony. . .to the great hurt and 
impoverishment of the same monastery, and so utterly he intend- 
eth to undo them, except your good grace to them be shewed in 
this behalf. And yet after all this the said Sir Robert Harcourt 
could not be Content, but attempted to indict more of the said 

^ Prop it up. 


monks at the sessions kept at Chipping Norton, and there all the 
Court knew and perceived that it was of wilful malice, so that at 
that sessions he could not obtain his malicious purpose. 

And moreover the Thursday next following he caused a 
sessions to be kept at Henley-upon-Thames in the extreme part 
of the shire of Oxford, which is more than 16 miles from the said 
monastery, and there caused divers of the^ said monks to be in- 
dicted, some of felony and some of riot and some of both, and 
hath returned the said indictments into the King's Bench, not- 
withstanding a certiorari^ to him before delivered. 

Also the said Sir Robert Harcourt, contrary to the laudable 

statutes of this land, maintaineth certain evil-disposed persons in 

the towns of Eynesham and Charlbury. . . so that the officers and 

servants of your said orators, when they shall require any rents 

or other duties, be so threatened and embraced^ with the said Sir 

Robert and his servants that they dare nor may peaceably do 

your said orator service. 

[Then follows an article complaining that Sir Robert Harcourt had taken away 
300 of the abbey sheep, and also 16 oxen, so that the Abbot could not sow his lands.] 

Also the said Sir Robert at every sessions and assize will not 
suffer the King's laws peaceably with justice to be executed, and 
especially when any nisi prius should pass between party and 
party^ ; if the jury be not returned after his mind, with his riotous 
adherents he stoppeth them with threatening and other means, 
that the true process of the laws may not pass but after his wilful 
and unlawful pleasures, insomuch that at the last assize kept 
upon the bridge* besides Abingdon in the county of Oxon he 
kept certain persons by violence in a chamber, and also letted* 
other persons to come to the said assize, as the Justices then being 
there can more largely shew. . . . 

All which the premises considered, that it may please your 
good Grace to grant several® writs of subpoena to be directed as 
well to the said Sir Robert Harcourt [as to 21 other persons named] 
. . . commanding them by the same to appear before your High- 
ness and your most honourable Council in the Star Chamber at 
Westminster to answer as well your Highness as your said orator 

^ Certiorari was a writ issuing out of the Chancery to an inferior Court calling 
up to some other Court the record of a pending case, on a complaint from one of the 
parties that he was not receiving justice or 'not like to have an indifferent trial in 
the said Court' (Jacob). 

^ See note on p. 258 above; but the term is here used loosely. 

' I.e. 'especially in nisi prius cases.' 

* The Court was probably held in the hall of the abbey, which is close to the 
bridge. s Hindered. « Separate. 


of the said wrongs, riots, and extortions before done; and the 
same your orator shall alway pray for the preservation of your 
gracious estate long to endure to God's pleasure. 

Then follow the answer of Sir Robert Harcourt and a separate answer on behalf 
of certain other defendants to the Abbot's bill of complaint. 

Leadam, i, 137. The case is also printed in A. F. Pollard, 
The Reign of Henry VII from Contemporary Sources, 
ii, 90. 

(3) Assault "^ 

This is really a case of aggravated assault, although an attempt is made to re- 
present it as a riot. 


To the King our Sovereign Lord 
In most humble wise sheweth unto your Highness your 
true and faithful subject, Giles Dobell, that where your said 
orator is and long time hath been seized . . . of . . . one messuage 
or tenement. , .in Minehead in your county of Somerset, and 
by reason thereof hath used to have a seat or pew for him and 
his wife in the said church of Minehead foresaid, in the which 
pew one Margery, wife to your said subject. . .was sitting and 
hearing her divine service as she ought to do, one Walter Soley 
[and others'] ... in riotous manner arrayed . . . with force and arms, 
that is to say with swords and bucklers, daggers, and other 
weapons invasive, contrary to your peace . . . into the said church 
of Minehead entered, and then and there took out the said 
Margery. . .of her said pew where she was kneeling in the said 
church, and her brought out into an aisle in the said church 
against her will, and then and there did her beat and ill entreat, 
by reason whereof, and for such fear as she then stood in, she fell 
in such a swoon or sickness that she was likely there to have died, 
if good help of certain of the said parochyns'^ then and there 
being had not helped her. And the said misruled persons, not 
with this contented but of their further mischievous mind only 
intending to have murdered and slain your said subject, the. . . 
day . . . next following in like riotous manner came into the said 
church . . . with staves, swords, halberds, and axes, and then and 
there brake the same pew, where the wife of your said orator then 
was, and said to her these words following : — ' Where is that knave 
thy husband } And if^ he were here we would have of him a leg 
or an arm ' ; by reason whereof your said subject dare not come 
to the said church for fear and danger of his life, to the perilous 

1 Parishioners. ^ 'And if = supposing that. 


example of such like offenders in time to come if remedy be not 
by your Grace and your most honourable Council the rather pro- 
vided in this behalf. It may therefore please your Highness, the 
premises considered, to grant several writs of subpoena to be 
directed to the said Robert [and others] . . . commanding them 
and every of them by virtue thereof personally to appear before 
your Highness and your most honourable Council at West- 
minster at a certain day to answer to the premises, etc. 

Then follow the answer of the defendants to the bill of complaint and the 
'replication' of the plaintiff. These shew that the real question at issue was whether 
the plaintiff had a right to the pew in virtue of his occupation of his house, or whether 
Robert Coke, one of the defendants, had a prior claim, having 'bought the said pew' 
from the churchwardens 'for term of his life.' The defendants claimed that they 
'brake down the same pew' 'for quieting of the said parish.' 

Miss G. Bradford, Proceedings in the Court of the Star Chamber 
(Somerset Record Society, 191 1), pp. 121-5. 

Cappis v, Cappis, before 1548 
This is a case of assault arising out of a claim to land, but an attempt is made, 
as in the previous case, to treat the incident as if it were a riot. 

To the King our Sovereign Lord 
In most humble wise complaineth to your Highness your 
daily oratrix and poor bedewoman, Philippa Cappis, widow, late 
wife of James Cappis, esquire, deceased. That where John Rowe, 
serjeant-at-the-law, and other, were and yet be seized of and in 
six messuages and 400 acres of land lying in East Whitfield and 
West Whitfield in your county of Somerset in their demesne as 
of fee to the use of your said oratrix for term of her life as for her 
jointure to her by her said late husband willed and put in surety, 
which lands and tenements since the decease of her said husband 
your said oratrix hath peaceably had, used, and occupied by the 
sufferance of the said John Rowe and other. ... So it is, most 
dread Sovereign Lord, that one Robert Cappis, one of the sons 
of the said James, being a person of most ragious and wilful con- 
dition, nothing dreading the punishment of your laws as con- 
cerning his wilful and ragious acts, wrongfully, forcibly, and in 
riotous manner, accompanied with three like ragious and riotous 
persons apparelled with weapons of warfare defensible. . .upon 
the Feast of St Luke last past came into the town of Wivelscombe 
in your said county, and perceiving that your oratrix was at dinner 
within an honest man his house within the said town, came into the 
said house where your said oratrix was at dinner and seeing her 
there suddenly plucked out his sword, saying these words to her 
as hereafter followeth, that is to wit: 'Ah, thou stepdame, by 


God's Blood I care not though I thrust my sword through thee,' 
and he intending so to have done in most eager manner, one of 
his said riotous company, being somewhat better advised, plucked 
him aback, saying to him these words: 'Master Cappis, beware 
what ye do; kill her not.' And furthermore, before the said 
riotous persons coming into the said house, the said oratrix had 
with her in the said house one of her sons called Sir Roger Cappis, 
being a priest, brother to the said Robert Cappis, which Roger 
shortly perceiving the sudden coming of the said riotous persons, 
unto whom the said IJ.obert had a long time borne his deadly 
malice for no other quarrel but for assistance and defence of his 
said mother's lawful quarrel and title in the premises, and dreading 
the danger of his life or bodily hurt suddenly to be to him done 
by the said riotous persons, conveyed himself and avoided from 
their presence, before their said coming in, at a back-side of the 
said house, and so departed out of their danger; after whose de- 
parting and after the said ragious demeanour of the said Robert 
to your oratrix as is aforesaid, the said Robert demanded by these 
words following; 'Where is that whoreson the priest? If I had 
him I would hew him in small gobbets to sell him at the market 
ere I went.* And this done, the said riotous persons departed, 
leaving your said oratrix in such dread and agony that she was 
and hath been since in peril of her body and life, and ever shall 
be the worse while she liveth. Yet the said malefactors, not con- 
tented with their said ragious demeanour, perceiving your oratrix 
to be from home, in like ragious and riotous demeanour incon- 
tinent entered into the said lands and there took and drove away 
a cow in the name of an heriot^, saying there and publishing 
himself to be very lord and heir of the same lands, and in like 
manner he hath used himself upon the premises divers times 
before this, and hath received with menacing and threatening of 
your oratrix's poor tenants of the said premises divers sums of 
money of the rents of right belonging to your oratrix, the said 
Robert Cappis having no manner of colour of title to the premises, 
neither as heir to the same nor otherwise; which is not only great 
dread as well to her person but also of the vexation for her said 
poor tenants and danger of their lives, and by occasion whereof 
she is in such a confusion, what for lack of receipt of the profits 
of the said lands which is her whole living, and what for the wild 
and furious rage of the said Robert and his adherents, that she 
being a woman in extreme age and impotent, and cannot without 
1 A payment due to the lord on the death of a tenant; in the case of copyholds 
it usually took the form of the tenant's best live beast. 


extreme charges defend herself, knoweth not what to do without 
the merciful succour of your most gracious Highness in such 
case requisite to be administered to poor, impotent, and succour- 
less widows; wherefore may it please your Highness of your most 
abundant grace to grant to your said suppliant your gracious 
writs of subpoena to be directed to the said Robert and other the 
said riotous persons with him before named, commanding, them 
by virtue of the same to appear before your Highness and your 
most honourable Council in your High Court of Star Chamber, 
there to answer to the. premises, and fufther commanding the 
said Robert by any of the said writs to him to be delivered by 
way of injunction, to avoid his possession of the premises and to 
suffer your said oratrix in the mean time peaceably to occupy the 
same till such time as the title in the premises be tried before 
your said honourable Council. . . . Bradford, p. 264. 

J (4) Trespass 

Walterkyn v. Lettice, 1503 

In this case the hermit of Highgate proceeds against the Vicar of St Pancras, 
Kentish Town, for trespass, assault, and loss of goods. The hermit was the successor 
of a long line of hermits who since 1364 had been charged with the repair of the 
road from Highgate to Smithfield, with a right of toll. The vicar was claiming the 
right to take a religious procession through the hermit's garden. As in the two pre- 
ceding cases an attempt is made to represent the offence as a riot. 

To the King our Sovereign Lord 
In most humble wise sheweth unto your Highness your poor 
humble orator and daily bedeman, Thomas Walterkyn, hermit of 
St Michael besides Highgate in the parish of Hornsey. Whereon 
Sir Robert Lettice, vicar of the parish of St Pancras in the field 
called Kentish Town, William Chadwick of the same parish, 
yeoman, John Hosteler, yeoman, and Richard Taylor, with other 
divers and many rioters and evil-disposed persons, to the number 
of 40 persons and more, upon Tuesday last past, the 23rd day of 
this present month of May, in riotous wise and in manner of war, 
that is to say with bills and staves and other weapons defensible, 
came into the house and hermitage of your said orator in the parish 
of Hornsey aforesaid, your said orator then being in his garden 
and his servant with him in peaceable manner there labouring, and 
then and there riotously with divers menacing and threatening 
words brake and hewed down as well the pale of the orchard of 
your said orator as the pale of his garden and unlawfully entered 
into the same, and without cause or occasion given by your said 
orator the said William Chadwick struck your said orator upon 


the arm with a bill, and would have murdered him except he had 
escaped from the said William and his company into the steeple 
of his said hermitage, wherein he continued by all the time of 
their being there. And furthermore your said orator saith that 
the said rioters entered into the dwelling-house of your said 
orator, and some of them took away two altar-cloths, a surplice, 
and a book called a graiF, with other stuff, besides other hurts and 
harms to him done in his said orchard and garden. And as yet your 
said orator dare not presume to go home to his said hermitage 
unless your gracious succour to him be shewed in that behalf. 
Please it therefore, your said gracious Highness, the premises 
tenderly considered, grant your gracious letters of privy seal to be 
directed to the said Sir [Robert], William Chadwick, John 
Hosteler, and Richard Taylor, or a serjeant-of-arms or some other 
commandment, them and every of them straitly commanding by 
the same to appear before your said Highness and the Lords of 
your most honourable Council at a certain day and under a certain 
pain to them and to every of them to be limited by the same. And 
your said orator shall daily pray to God for the preservation of 
your most noble and royal estate 

The answer of Sir Robert Lettice, clerk, Vicar of St Pancras, 
William Chadwick, John Hosteler, and Richard Taylor to 
the bill of complaint of Thomas Walterkyn of St Michael by 

The said vicar and the other say that the said bill is not certain 
nor sufficient to be answered unto, but of great malice untruly 
feigned and imagined only to slander, vex, and trouble the said 
vicar and the other, and the matter therein contained determin- 
able at the common law and not in this Court, whereto they pray 
to be remitted; and, the advantage thereof to them saved, for 
declaration of truth and answer say that the said vicar and the 
other beforenamed, with the whole parish of Kentish Town, the 
said 23rd day of May in the bill of the said hermit specified, 
which was in the Rogation Week, according to the laudable 
custom of England went in procession about their said parish in 
their prayers, as they and their predecessors have used to do time 
out of mind in God's peace and the King's, till they came to the 
hermitage of the said hermit at Highgate, which hermit and his 
predecessors stopped the procession way of your said vicar and 
of his parishioners by means of making of pales and dykes, and 
would not suffer them to pass with their procession as they were 

1 See note on p. 1 14 above. 
T. n. 18 


wont to do, albeit the said hermit was courteously entreated by 
the said Chadwick and other to suffer them peaceably to pass 
with their procession; and then the said hermit, having a great 
club by him in his garden, and two other with him with clubs, 
also Richard Yardley and Thomas Marshall, suddenly took the 
said clubs and strake at the said Chadwick over the pale, with the 
violence of which stroke the said hermit brake divers of his pales; 
and afterwards divers of the said parish pulled down certain pales 
for the said parish to pass with their procession, and so departed 
peaceably that way with their procession without any occasion- 
giving or quarrel-making to the said hermit or to any other. And 
as to the entering into the dwelling-house of the said hermit and 
taking away of certain books thence, they say that they be not 
thereof guilty, but they say that the said hermit is a man of ill 
conversation and rule, for they say that the said hermit hath laid 
to pledge one of the books that he supposeth should be stolen, 
that is to say a grail and other stuff, to one John Philip for a cer- 
tain sum of money, which the said Philip will avow and testify, 
which he would now colourably and untruly lay to the charge of 
divers of the said parishioners. Without that^ that the said vicar 
and the other before named came riotously into the house and 
hermitage of the said hermit in the parish of Hornsey in manner 
and form as by the said bill is supposed, and without that that 
they be guilty of breaking or hewing any pale otherwise but as 
before doth appear, and without that that the said William Chad- 
wick is guilty of striking the said hermit with a bill or otherwise 
in manner and form as by the said bill is also supposed, and 
without that that the said vicar and the other aforesaid be guilty 
of any riot or were of any such misdemeanour in manner and form 
as by the bill of the said hermit is supposed. All which matters 
the said vicar and the other be ready to prove and make good as 
this Court will award, and pray to be dismissed with their reason- 
able costs and charges for their wrongful vexation and trouble 
sustained in this behalf. 

This is the replication of Thomas Walterkyn, hermit of St 
Michael besides Highgate, to the answer of Sir Robert, 
vicar of St Pancras, William Chadwick, and others. 

The said hermit saith that his bill of complaint is true in 
everything and sufficient to be answered; and he saith that the 

^ 'Without that' purports to be a translation of absque hoc, a phrase used in 
medieval pleadings. The expression is purely formal, but the sense is that the 
plaintiiFs claim is good 'without that,' i.e. 'except' for the defence. 


said vicar and other be guilty of the said riot and misbehaving in 
manner and form as in the said bill is supposed, and moreover he 
saith that the said hermitage is in the parish of Hornsey out of 
the parish of St Pancras, and he saith that divers persons, as well 
of the said parish as of other places, of their devotion have used 
to enter into the chapel of the said hermitage to hear divine service 
and to- honour God there at times convenient. Without that the 
said vicar or any of the said parish of St Pancras have or ought 
to have any procession way there or any there or any other 
colour or title of entry into the said hermitage or any part thereof 
other than as he hath before rehearsed; and without that the said 
hermit or any other for him had any club or staff at the time of 
the said riot and forcible entry committed by the said vicar and 
other; and without that the said hermit is a man of misrule or that 
he pledged any stuff belonging to the said hermitage as the said 
vicar and other in their answer have supposed. All which matters 
he is ready to prove as this Court will award, and prayeth as in 
his bill, etc. Leadam, i, 164. 

(5) Slander 
Vale v. Broke, 1493 
Proceedings for slander were usually taken in the ecclesiastical courts. In this 
case the Star Chamber could probably claim to be supplementing the defects of 
common or statute law^. 

To the King our Sovereign Lord and the discreet Lords of his 
most noble Council 

Lamentably complaining sheweth unto your Highness your 
humble subject and true liegeman, Simon Vale of Castle Bromwich 
in your county of Warwick. That where one John Broke and 
Alice his wife of the same town, of their great malices and evil 
wills bearing to your said beseecher, and to the intent utterly to 
shame him and his for ever, hath openly disclandered him amongst 
his. neighbours that he, his wife and children, and all his kin 
should be strong thieves and common robbers, whereas his 
neighbours and other inhabitants in his country will record he 
is a true man and all his household also. And over this the said 
John Broke of his said malice hath suffered his beasts through 
his own ground to destroy the grains of your said beseecher, to 
the intent utterly to destroy and undo him. Considering, gracious 
Sovereign Lord, that the said John Broke hath said and done 
these injuries to your said beseecher since an obligation of ^^40 
sealed and delivered by him to your said beseecher was forfeit, 

^ Leadam, i, p. cxxxii. 

1 8— a 


which obligation is ready to be shewed. In consideration of the 
premises; and that your said orator is not able to sue the said John 
Broke and his wife for his remedy at your common law; and that 
also the said John Broke of his great power holdeth great lands 
in the said parish of his lord there and is his bailiiF, for the which 
he payeth no task^ to your Grace but compelleth your said be- 
seecher and other his poor neighbours about him to pay his task 
and tallage to your said Grace for the land he occupieth and hold- 
eth^ to their great hurts and impoverishment; and also by his 
great power the said John and his wife are common receivers of 
thieves and vagabonds for money to him given; and also is a 
common receiver, and maintainers of common queans, priests' 
emans, and keepeth them for money in his house by 6 or 7 
weeks, and will not suffer them for his lucre to come to church 
to hear God's service, to the great abuse of all his poor neighbours 
about him and disclander to all the country, so that for dread of 
him and of such persons adherent to the said thieves and queans 
he for dread of his death dare not continue in his poor house, but of 
necessity must inhabit him in other places. And for the true proof 
of the premises, if need be, all the honest inhabitants of the said 
parish will, if they be commanded by your Grace, be ready to 
come afore your Highness and your said Council at their proper 
costs to report the same. Please it your Highness, the premises 
graciously considered, and that the said John Broke here now 
present for his false defamation and other hurts to him done, and 
also for the said misbehaving, may be punished according to his 
desert as right requireth. This for the love of God and in the way 
of charity, and he shall pray to God for the preservation of your 

full noble and royal estate t j ■ o 

'' Leadam, 1, 30, 

(6) Unjust tolls 
Cooper v Gervaux and others, 1493 
In this case, as in many others, there is a tendency to associate the real grievance 
with a suggestion of riot in order to bring it within the special jurisdiction of the 
Star Chamber. 

To the King our Sovereign Lord and the Lords of his most 

honourable Council, spiritual and temporal 
Sheweth and grievously complaineth unto your most noble 
Grace your true and faithful subject Hugh Cooper, citizen and 
draper of your City of London, how that whereas he and many 
other merchants of your said City have of long continuance used 
to resort every year unto the Fair of Salisbury there holden and 

1 Tax, 


kept at our Lady Day in Lent in the common market-place of 
that City, and every man to have his convenient room there to 
utter in such wares and goods as he bringeth thither to and for 
the same intent during the season that the Fair continueth, and 
at their departing to reward such officers as be appointed therefor 
by the same City, every man of his courtesy for the standing, at 
his pleasure and nothing of duty. Truth it is, gracious Lord, 
that at our Lady Day was twelvemonth one John GervauX of the 
same City, goldsmith, and John Chapman of the same, chapman, 
came to the booth of your said orator and of him asked ^d. for 
every foot of ground that he occupied. . . and so because he asked 
them what authority they had to shew for them whereby to claim 
the said duty, they all to^ reviled him and called him knave, with 
other cruel and despiting words and threats, and there made 
assault upon him, and finally by the supportation and mainten- 
ance of one Blackdr, then Miayor there, took from him by force 
and plain extortion a distress of his goods, and the same carried 
away with them at their pleasures without his love or leave, ex- 
pressly against your laws, to his great hurt and wrongs. And 
furthermore, by the supportation, comfort, and maintenance of 
one Thomas Coke, Mayor there the last year, your said orator 
being. , .at the said Fair, there came to his stall one William 
Hall, the Bishop's under-bailifF, there and then, and there made 
a great assault upon him, and him threatened to kill and slay out 
of hand without he would pay the said money. . .by mean of 
which trouble the same bailiff caused your said orator clearly to 
lose his Fair and feat of merchandise^ at that time, to his great 
hurt and loss, fear and jeopardy of his life, insomuch that lest he 
should have been murdered and slain there amongst them he was 
fain to get him out of the City as hastily as he could by possibility, 
and yet as privily as he departed thence the said bailiff, utterly 
set and disposed to have slain him, lay in a wait upon him with 3 
horse and as many men arrayed in manner of war and in riotous 
wise, that is to say with swords and bucklers, spears, and other 
defensible weapons, and on horseback, mufHed every each one 
because they would not be known, and so pursued and followed 
him from the said City of Sarum to Andover. . . . 

Please it your good Grace, in consideration of the premises, 
considering this your said orator has no power to sue your common 
law for his remedy in this party against the said City, by whom 
this matter is borne out of wilfulness only, without any lawful 
ground, of your great bounty to grant hereupon your graciou's 
1 Utterly. ^ Feat of merchandise = mercantile business. 


letters of privy seal directed to the said Thomas Coke, William 
Hall, John Gervaux, goldsmith, and John Chapman, chapman, 
charging them straitly by the same to be and appear personally 
before your Grace and your said Council at your Palace of West- 
minster upon a reasonable pain in the utas^ of the Purification of 
our Blessed Lady next coming, to answer unto the premises, and 
to such things as then and there shall be objected and laid against 
them, at the reverence of God and in the way of charity. . . . 

Leadam, i, 36. 

A number of seventeenth century cases, printed in Cases in the Courts 
of Star Chamber and High Commission, ed. S. R, Gardiner (Camden Society, 
1886), illustrate the same points. See especially the following: (i) Attorney- 
General V. Moody and others, 1 63 1 (p. 59), dealing with a riot made by 
certain persons claiming rights of common against Sir Cornelius Vermuy- 
den's operations for the draining of the fens, in the course of which the 
rioters demolished the work, destroyed the spades, wheelbarrows, and planks, 
beat the workmen, and 'threw some of them into the water and held them 
under a while'; the Court inflicted fines upon the defendants and condemned 
them 'to pay for damages unto Sir Cornelius Vermuyden. . .£;iooo.^ (2) In 
Attorney-General V. William Leake and others, 1631 (p. 79) one defendant 
was charged with forging a will leaving a manor and mansion-house to her 
son, and the son was charged with organising a riot to enter it by force; 
an aggravating circumstance being that he had 'whiffed tobacco' in the 
face of the rightful owner; but the Court dismissed the case. (3) In the 
Earl of Suffolk v. Sir Richard Grenville, 1631 (p. 108} the defendant was 
fined ^4000 to the King and mulcted in ^^4000 to the plaintiff for libelling 
him by calling him 'a base lord.' (4) In Attorney-General v. Theodore Kelly, 
i(i22 (p. 112J, the defendant was charged with provocation to a breach of 
the peace by threatening to cudgel another, which the Court held to tend 
to a duel, which, as the Attorney-General pointed out, is 'a most perilous 
thing, — it hath in it apparent danger of both their souls and bodies'; the 
sentence was a fine of ;£200 and imprisonment during the King's pleasure, 
and the Lord Privy Seal and the Lord Keeper 'found great fault' with Mr 
Kelly's 'long, ruffian-like hair,' and 'would have topped him if the vote 
of the Court had been for it.' 

Rushworth in his Historical Collections (ii, 203) also reports a case in 
which the Star Chamber in 1633 sentenced an Irish judge to a fine of ^^2000, 
and imprisonment in the Fleet during the King's pleasure, for procuring the 
condemnation of an innocent man by means of threats to the jury, with 
damages of ^^i 000 to the victim's son. 

(8) Speech in the Star Chamber, 1600 

[13 June, 1600J 
... I was yesterday at the Star Chamber upon report of some 
special matter that should be delivered touching my Lord of 
Essex, where the Lord Keeper made a very grave speech in 

^ Octave. 


nature of a charge to the Judges, to look to the overgrowing idle 
multitude of justices of peace, to maintainers and abettors of 
causes and suits, to solicitors and pettifoggers, to gentlemen that 
leave hospitality and housekeeping and hide themselves in cities 
and borough towns, to the vanity and excess of women's apparel, 
to forestallers and regraters of markets, to drunkards and dis- 
orderly persons, to masterless men and other companions that 
make profession to live by their sword and by their wit, to dis- 

coursers and meddlers in Prince's matters, and lastly to libellers. 

John Chamberlain, Letters during the Reign of Queen 
Elizabeth (Camden Society, 1861), p. 77. 


(9) Star Chamber Decree concerning Printers, 1585 

The Order in Council of 1 566 concerning seditious books (see p. 245 above) 
was followed by a Star Chamber Decree of 23 June, 1584, 'for the redressing the 
abuses in printing'^; and this by the important Decree of 1 586 here printed, drafted 
by Archbishop Whitgift. This follows the order of 1 566 in imposing special duties 
upon the Stationers' Company. 

Whereas sundry decrees and ordinances have upon grave 
advice and deliberation been heretofore made and practised for 
the repressing of such great enormities and abuses as of late 
(more than in times past) have been commonly used and practised 
by divers contemptuous and disorderly persons professing the art 
or mystery of printing and selling of books; and yet, notwith- 
standing, the said abuses and enormities are nothing abated, but 
(as it is found by experience) do rather more and more increase, 
by the wilful and manifest breach and contempt of the said 
ordinances, to the great displeasure and offence of the Queen's 
most excellent Majesty; by reason whereof sundry intolerable 
offences, troubles, and disturbances have happened, as well in 
the Church as in the civil government of the State and Common- 
weal of this realm, which seem to have grown because the pains 
and penalties contained and set down in the same ordinances and 
decrees have been too light and small for the correction and pun- 
ishment of so grievous and heinous offences, and so the offenders 
and malefactors in that behalf have not been so severely punished 
as the quality of their offences have deserved : 

Her Majesty therefore of her most godly and gracious dis- 
position, being careful that speedy and due reformation be had of 
the abuses and disorders aforesaid, and that all persons using 
and professing the art, trade, or mystery of printing or selling of 
books should from henceforth be ruled and directed therein by 

1 Cal. S.P. Dom. 1581-90, p. 184. 


some certain or known rules or ordinances which should be in- 
violably kept and observed and the breakers and offenders of the 
same to be severely and sharply punished and corrected, hath 
straitly charged and required the most Reverend Father in God 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the right honourable the 
Lords and others of her Highness's Privy Council, to see her 
Majesty's said gracious and godly intention and purpose to be 
duly and effectually executed and accomplished. 

Whereupon the said Reverend Father and the whole Presence 
sitting in this honourable Court this 23rd day of June in the 28th 
year of her Majesty's reign, upon grave and mature deliberation, 
hath ordained and declared that the ordinances and constitution, 
rules and articles, hereafter following shall from henceforth by 
all persons be duly and inviolably kept and observed, according 
to the tenor, purpose, and true intent and meaning of the same, 
as they tender her Majesty's high displeasure and as they will 
answer to the contrary at their utmost peril. 

I. Imprimis, That every printer and other person. . .which 
at this time present hath erected . . . any printing press, roll, or 
other instrument for imprinting of books, charts, ballads, por- 
traitures, paper called damask paper, or any such things or 
matters whatsoever, shall bring a true note or certificate of the 
said presses . . . already erected, within ten days next coming after 
the publication hereof, and of the said presses . . . hereafter to be 
erected or set up from time to time, within ten days next after the 
erecting or setting up thereof, unto the Master and Wardens of 
the Company of Stationers of the City of London for the time 
being; upon pain that every person failing or offending herein 
shall have all and every the said presses . . . utterly defaced and 
made unserviceable for imprinting for ever, and shall also suffer 
twelve months imprisonment. . . . 

IL Item, That no printer of books nor any other person or 
persons whatsoever shall set up, keep, or maintain any press or 
presses. . . for imprinting of books \etc.'\. . . but only in the City 
of London or the suburbs thereof (except one press in the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge and one other press in the University of 
Oxford and no more); and that no person shall hereafter erect, 
set up, or maintain in any secret or obscure corner or place any 
such press, ... but that the same shall be in such open place or 
places In his or their houses as the Wardens of the said Company 
of Stationers for the time being, or such other person or persons 
as by the said Wardens shall be thereunto appointed, may from 
time to time have ready access unto to search for and view the 


same. And that no printer. . .shall at any time hereafter with- 
stand or make resistance to. . .any such view or search nor deny, 
to keep secret, any such press . . . upon pain that every person so 
offending in anything contrary to this Article shall have all the 
said presses. . .defaced and made unserviceable for imprinting 
for ever, and shall also suffer imprisonment for one whole year, 
and be disabled for ever to keep any printing press, ... or to be 
master of any printing-house, or to have any benefit thereby 
other than only to work as a journeyman for wages. 

III. Item, That no printer or other person whatsoever that 
hath set up any press . . . within six months last passed shall here- 
after use or occupy the same, nor any person or persons shall 
hereafter erect or set up any press . . , till the excessive multitude 
of printers having presses already set up be abated, diminished, 
and by death given over, or otherwise brought to so small a 
number of masters or owners of printing-houses being of ability 
and good behaviour as the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop 
of London for the time being shall thereupon think it requisite 
and convenient, for the good service of the realm, to have some 
more presses. . .erected and set up. And that when and as often 
as the said Archbishop and Bishop . . . shall so think it requisite 
and convenient, and shall signify the same to the said Master 
and Wardens of the said Company of Stationers . . . , that then 
and so often as the said Master and Wardens shall (within con- 
venient time after) call the Assistants of the said Company before 
them, and shall make choice of one or more (as by the opinion of 
the said Archbishop and Bishop . . . need shall require) of such 
persons, being free Stationers, as for their skill, ability, and good 
behaviour shall be thought by the Master, Wardens, and Assist- 
ants, or the more part of them, meet to have the charge and 
government of a press or printing-house; and that within fourteen 
days next after such election and choice, the said Master, Wardens, 
and four other at the least of the Assistants of the said Company 
shall present before the High Commissioners in Causes Ecclesi- 
astical, or six or more of them whereof the said Archbishop and 
Bishop to be one, to allow and admit every such person so chosen 
and presented, to be master and governor of a press and printing- 
house according to the same election and presentment; upon 
pain that every person offisnding contrary to the intent of this 
Article shall have his press. . .defaced and made unserviceable 
and also suffer imprisonment by the space of one whole year. . . . 
IV. Item, That no person or persons shall imprint or cause to 
be imprinted or suffer by any means to his knowledge his press. 


letters, or other instruments to be occupied in printing of any 
book, work, copy, matter, or thing whatsoever except the same 
book [elc.'] . . . hath been heretofore allowed, or hereafter shall be 
allowed, before the imprinting thereof according to the order 
appointed by the Queen's Majesty's Injunctions^ and be first 
seen and perused by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop 
of London for the time being, or one of them, (the Queen's 
Majesty's Printer for some special service by her Majesty or by 
some of her Highness's Privy Council thereunto appointed, and 
such as are or shall be privileged to print the books of the common 
law of this realm for such of the same books as shall be allowed 
of by the two Chief Justices and Chief Baron for the time being, 
or any two of them, only excepted); nor shall imprint or cause to 
be imprinted any book, work, or copy against the form or mean- 
ing of any restraint or ordinance contained in any statute or laws 
of this realm, or in any injunction made or set forth by her 
Majesty or her Highness's Privy Council, or against the true 
intent and meaning of any letters patents, commissions, or pro- 
hibitions under the Great Seal of England, or contrary to any 
allowed ordinance set down for the good governance of the Com- 
pany of Stationers within the City of London; upon pain to have 
all such presses, letters, and instruments as in or about the im- 
printing of any such books or copies shall be employed or used 
to be defaced and made unserviceable for imprinting for ever, and 
upon pain also that every offender and offenders contrary to this 
present Article or Ordinance shall be disabled (after any such 
offence) to use or exercise or take benefit by using or exercising 
of the art or feat of imprinting, and shall moreover sustain six 
months imprisonment. . . . 

V. Item, That every such person as shall sell utter or put to 
sale wittingly, bind stitch or sew, or wittingly cause to be sold 
uttered put to sale bound stitched or sewed, any books or copies 
whatsoever printed contrary to the intent and true meaning of 
any Ordinance or Article aforesaid, shall suffer three months' im- 
prisonment for his or their offence. 

VL Ifem, That it shall be lawful for the Wardens of the said 
Company for the time being or any two of the said Company 
thereto deputed by the said Wardens, to make search in all work- 
houses, shops, warehouses of printers, booksellers, bookbinders, 
or where they shall have reasonable cause of suspicion, and all 
books [e/c.]. . .contrary to. . .these present Ordinances to stay 
and take to her Majesty's use, and the same to carry into Sta- 
^ The Injunctions of 1559: see Prothero, p. 188. 


tioners' Hall in London; and the party or parties offending, . .to 
arrest, bring, and present them before the said High Commis- 
sioners in Causes Ecclesiastical, or some three or more of them, 
whereof the said Archbishop of Canterbury or Bishop of London 
for the time being to be one. 

VIL Item, That it shall be lawful to or for the said Wardens 
for the time being, or any two by them appointed, ... to enter 
into any house, work-house, warehouse, shop, or other place or 
places, and to seize, take, and carry away all presses, letters, and 
all other printing instruments set up, used, or employed contrary 
to the true meaning hereof, to be defaced and made unserviceable 
as aforesaid. And that the said Wardens shall, so often as need 
shall require, call the Assistants of their said Company, or the 
more part of them, into their said Hall and there take order for 
the defacing, burning, breaking, and destroying of all the said 
presses, letters, and other printing instruments aforesaid; and 
thereupon shall cause all such printing-presses or other printing 
instruments to be defaced, melted, sawed in pieces, broken or 
battered at the smith's forge, or otherwise to be made unservice- 
able. And the stuff of the same, so defaced, shall re-deliver to the 
owners thereof again within three months next after the taking or 
seizing thereof as is aforesaid. 

VI n. Item, That for the avoiding of the excessive number of 
printers within this realm, it shall not be lawful for any person or 
persons being free of the Company of Stationers or using the 
trade or mystery of printing, bookselling, or bookbinding, to have, 
take, and keep hereafter at one time any greater number of ap- 
prentices than shall be hereafter expressed. That is to say, every 
person that hath been or shall be Master or Upper Warden of 
the Company whereof he is free, to keep three apprentices at one 
time, and not above. And every person that is or shall be Under 
Warden or of the Livery of the Company whereof he is free, to 
keep two apprentices, and not above. And every person that is or 
shall be of the Yeomanry of the Company whereof he is or shall 
be free, to keep one apprentice (if he himself be not a journey- 
man) and not above. Provided always, that this Ordinance shall 
not extend to the Queen's Majesty's Printer for the time being 
for the service of her Majesty and the realm, but that he be at 
liberty to keep and have apprentices to the number of six at any 
one time. 

IX. //(?»?, That none of the Printers in Cambridge or Oxford 
for the time being shall be suffered to have any more apprentices 
than one at one time at the most. But it is and shall be lawful to 


and for the said Printers and either of them, and their successors, 
to have and use the help of any journeymen, being freemen of 
the City of London, without contradiction. Any law, statute, or 
commandment contrary to the meaning and due execution of 
these Ordinances or any of them to the contrary notwithstanding, 
Strype, Life of Whitgift, Book ni, ch. xiii, and Appendix 
to Book III, No. xxiv. 

(10) Extracts 

I. Sir Thomas Smith, 1 565 
Sir Thomas Smith, the author of De Republica Anglorum, was sent as English 
Ambassador to France by Queen Elizabeth (i 562-6), and it Tyks during this absence 
that the book was written, although it was not published until 1 583, six years after 
the author's death. It has been described as 'the most important description 6f the 
constitution and government of England written in the Tudor age.'^ Sir Thomas 
Smith was closely connected with Cambridge, as he was a Fellow of Queens', 
Public Orator, and Regius Professor of Civil Law. 

Of the Court of Star Chamber 

There is yet in England another Court, of the which that I 

can understand there is not the like in any other country. In thie 

term time. . . the Lord Chancellor and the Lords and other of the 

Privy Council, so many as will, and other lords and barons which 

be not of the Privy Council and be in the town, and the Judges of 

England, specially the two Chief Judges, from ix of the dock till 

it be xi do sit in a place which is called the Star Chamber, either 

because it is full of windows or because at the first all the roof 

thereof was decked with images of stars gilted. There is plaints 

i^heard of riots. Riot is called in our English term or speech, 

1/ where any number is assembled with force to do anything.. . . 

And further, because such things are not commonly done by 

1, mean men, but such as be of power and force, and be not to be 

dealt withal of every man, nor of mean gentlemen; if the riot be 

found and certified to the King's Council, or if otherwise it be 

^ complained of, the party is sent for, and he must appear in this 

^ Star Chamber, where seeing (except the presence of the Prince 

only) as it were the majesty of the whole realm before him, being 

never so stout he will be abashed; and being called to answer (as 

he must come, of what degree soever he be) he shall be so charged 

with such gravity, with such reason and remonstrance, and of 

those chief personages of England, one after another handling 

him on that sort, that, what courage soever he hath, his heart 

will fall to the ground, and so much the more when if he make 

not his answer the better, as seldom he can so in open violence, 

1 D.N.B.Xm, 127. 


he shall be commanded to the Fleet, where he shall be kept in 
prison in such sort as these judges shall appoint him, lie there 
till he be weary as well of the restraint of his liberty as of the great 
expenses which he must there sustain, and for a time be forgotten, 
whilst after long suit of his friends he will be glad to be ordered 
by reason. Sometime, as his deserts be, he payeth a great fine to 
the Prince, besides great costs and damages to the party, and yet 
the matter wherefor he attempteth this riot and violence is re- 
mitted to the common law. For that is the effect of this Court, to ' 
bridle such stout noblemen or gentlemen which would offer 1 
wrong by force to any manner men, and cannot be content to ' 
demand or defend the right by order of law. 

This Court began long before, but took great augmentation 
and authority at that time that Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of 
York, was Chancellor of England, who of some was thought to 
have first devised the Court, because that he, after some inter- 
mission by negligence of time, augmented the authority of it, 
which was at that time marvellous necessary to do, to repress the 
insolency of the noblemen and gentlemen of the north parts of 
England, who being far from the King and the seat of justice 
made almost as it were an ordinary war among themselves, and 
made their force their law, banding themselves with their tenants 
and servants to do or revenge injury one against another as they 
listed. This thing seemed not supportable to the noble prince King 
Henry the Eighth; and sending for them one after another to his 
Court to answer before the persons beforenamed, after they had 
had remonstrance shewed them of their evil demeanour and been 
well disciplined as well by words as by fleeting^ awhile, and 
thereby their purse and courage somewhat assuaged, they began 
to range themselves in order, and to understand that they had a 
Prince who would rule his subjects by his laws and obedience^ 
Sith that time this Court hath been in more estimation, and is 
continued to this day in manner as I have said before. 

Sir Thomas Smith, De Republica Anglorum (eel. L. Alston, 

1906), Book HI, ch. iv. 
2. William Lambarde, 1591 

William Lambarde, the historian of Kent, afterwards a Master in Chancery and 
Keeper of the Records in the Tower, completed in 1 591 Archelon, or a Commentary 
upon the High Courts of Justice in England, in succession to Eirenarcha, or of the 
Office of Justices of Peace, published in 1581 (see p. 457 below). He died in 1601. 
Archeion was not published until 1635. 

, . . Shall no help at all be sought for at the hands of the King 
when it cannot be found in the Common Law.? That were to 
^ Imprisonment in the Fleet prison. 


stop his ears at the cry of the oppressed, and would draw wrath 
and punishment from Heaven, , .(p, 141). 

It must be true that the King and his Council are not to be 
tied to any one place, seeing that the place itself neither addeth 
nor derogateth to or from their authority, and there be many 
causes of remove and change from place to place; but yet even 
as the Palace at Westminster hath evermore been reputed the 
chief royal seat of the realm, as being most frequented with the 
personal presence of the Kings, and honoured with the solemnity 
of the coronations and assemblies of estates in Parliament, so the 
Council Chamber of that Palace hath obtained that dignity to 
bear a name above all others, and hath been of long time called 
the Star Chamber (p. 175). 

. . . But from whence this place first purchased the name of 
Star Chamber there may be divers conjectures : one by derivation 
from the English word steoran, which signifieth to steer or rule, 
as doth the pilot in a ship, because the King and Council do sit 
here, as it were at the stern, and do govern the ship of the Com- 
monwealth; then of the Latin word stellio, which betokeneth that 
starry and subtile beast^ of whose name the fault of crafty cozenage 
is borrowed by the civilians, which they call crimen stellionatum, 
because the sin is punished in this Court by an extraordinary 
power, even as it was in the law civil. Lastly, because haply 
the roof thereof was at the first garnished with gilded stars,, as 
the room itself is starry, or full of windows and light, in which 
respect some of the Latin irecords name it Camera stellata, the 
French le chambre des etoiles, and the English the Starred Cham- 
ber ,,, (p. 1 8 3). 

But leaving the choice of these, as also all further conjecture 
therein, to other men, I will proceed to set forth the usage of pro- 
ceeding in this place before the making of the Statute 3 Henr. VII, 
c. I, the which some men (but much deceived) do take to have 
laid the first stone of this far more ancient and stately erection 
...(p. a 85). 

This Statute as some have thought was made for the restraint 
of that absolute authority which beforetime was exercised by the 
'^King's Council; so as after the making thereof they were to take 
knowledge of these few causes only, and of none others. But I do 
rather expound it by way of enlargement of their juridical author- 
ity, for insomuch as there is not in it any words prohibitory 
w touching the former manner of proceeding, and the scope of this 
i^ law is to have those offenders convicted by other means than by 

^ See note on p. 289 below. 


order of law, as they were before, I gather thereby that the 
Statute giveth an additament of this sort, viz, that whereas before- 
time the King and the Lords of this Council did not admit any 
complaint for such only as carried within it a reasonable surmise 
of maintenance of their jurisdiction, . . . now by this new Statute, 
over and besides that ancient authority, only three of the Council, 
viz. the Chancellor, Treasurer, and Keeper of the Privy Seal, 
using the assistance of some others thereunto appointed, were 
enabled to hear and determine ordinarily of these eight offences, 
and that without any manner of such suggestion or surm.ise at all; 
and that both King Henry VII and King Henry VIII did, many 
years after the making of this Statute, sometime in person and 
very often by their Council, practise by former jurisdictions in 
Star Chamber without any help of this new law and statute, it 
doth most certainly appear by the Books of Entries kept there, 
which is a true journal of the acts of the Court. . .(p. 197). 

. . . And this was now at the last devised because, as the 
statutes themselves do report, that ancient and ordinary pro- 
ceeding at the common law against these maintainers, rioters, 
and the rest of the common rabble, was hindered by the greatness 
of the offenders, which were belike so breasted, sided, and backed 
with a many friends, tenants, and followers in their own countries, 
that none indictment or trial could make the way to touch them; 
which thing threatened the utter subversion of the good policy 
of the realm, if this sovereign and higher hand had not been 
timely extended for help and remedy. 

Howbeit, by the express words of these new laws these of^ 
fences named in them are in none other degree to be punished in 
this Court now than they were before upon conviction by judg- 
ment and the trial of twelve. And therefore the change that is 
offered resteth chiefly in the circumstances of place, process, and 
mean of trial, the very substance itself, (that is to say) the dis- 
cretion of the fault itself and the distribution of the pain due 
thereunto, remaining the very same that they were before; from 
the which appointed pains if the Lords shall at any time think 
good to vary and depart, then it must be understood to be done 
by that former authority which they had and have as the Council 
of the King, and not by virtue of these statutes, which do leave 
unto them no liberty at all in this behalf, for we may not so con- 
join, or rather confound, these authorities, as either of them shall 
be extinct and drowned in the other, but we must preserve them 
both separably and distinct, not only in understanding but in 
execution and practice also, even as when the Justices that ride 


the circuits do bring with them into the country one Commis- 
sion of Oyer and Terminer, and another of Gaol Delivery, and a 
third of the Peace, and do sit upon the trial of felonies, they may 
lawfully extend their authority by the one where the other will 
not reach and serve the business, which thing they could not do 
if by such a conjunction the greater Commission should be said 
to devour and swallow the less; and this one hold is of sufficient 
strength to withstand the assaults of all those objections which 
some are wont to make against certain the proceedings in this 
Court. . .(p. 205). 

Thus I have made it appear both what hath been the right 

usage of this Court by the original power thereof, and what access 

of authority it hath received by these new laws and statutes, the 

•^ which were, as you see, ordained to apply a most honourable, high, 

'' awful, and ordinary remedy for these enormities and excesses, 

'' which were at that time grown so exorbitant and high that they 

•^ might not sufficiently be revenged by the inferior judges and 

•^ usual stroke of the common law. In which case right necessary 

i' it was that the King himself, and such as were nearest in the stair 

v-of authority underneath him, should shew themselves, by the 

" majesty and awe of whose personal state and presence both these 

" offenders might be abashed and beaten down, and these offences 

•^ might be made exemplary and forewarnings to other men. 

And therefore this is all that for this time and service I pur- 
posed to say in this most noble and praiseworthy Court, the beams 
of whose bright justice, equal in beauty with Hesperus and 
Lucifer (as Aristotle said in like case) do blaze and spread them- 
selves as far as the realm is long or wide, and by the influence 
of whose supereminent authority all other courts of law and 
justice that we have are both the more surely supported and the 
more evenly kept and managed . . . (p. 21 5). 

Lambarde, Archeion (1635). 

3. Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans, 1621 

Bacon's History of Henry VII was written in the Long Vacation after his fall in 
1 62 1, and it was ready for publication in the following year. 

First, the authority of the Star Chamber, which before sub- 
sisted by the ancient common laws of the realm, was confirmed 
in certain cases by Act of Parliament^. This Court is one of the 
sagest and noblest institutions of this kingdom. For, in the dis- 
tribution of courts of ordinary justice (besides the High Court of 
Parliament), in which distribution the King's Bench holdeth the 
1 /. e. by the Act of 1487. 


pleas of the Crown; the Common Pleas, pleas civil; the Ex- 
chequer, pleas concerning the King's revenue; and the Chancery, 
the pretorian power for mitigating the rigour of law in case of 
extremity by the conscience of a good man; there was neverthe- 
less always reserved a high and preeminent power to the King's 
Council in causes that might in example or consequence concern 
the state of the commonwealth; which if they were criminal the,^ 
Council used to sit in the chamber called the Star Chamber, if t- 
civil in the White Chamber or White Hall^. And as the Chancery 
had the pretorian power for equity, so the Star Chamber had the 
censorian power for offences under the degree of capital. This 
Court of Star Chamber is compounded of good elements, for it 
consisteth of four kinds of persons : councillors, peers, prelates, 
and chief judges; it discerneth also principally of four kinds of v 
causes: forces, frauds, crimes various of stellionate^, and the in-v/ 
choations or middle acts towards crimes capital or heinous not 
actually committed or perpetrated. But that which was princi- 
pally aimed at by this Act^ was force, and the two chief supports 
of force, combination of multitudes and maintenance or head- 
ship of great persons. 

Bacon, History of Henry FII (fForks, ed. Spedding, vi, 85). 

The law giveth that favour to lawful acts that, although they 
be executed by several authorities, yet the whole act is good. . . . 

... So in the Star Chamber a sentence may be good, grounded 
in part upon the authority given the Court by the Statute of 3 
Henr. VII and in part upon that ancient authority which the 

Court hath by the common law, and so upon several commissions 

Bacon, Maxims of the Law (Works, ed. Spedding, vii, 379). 

4. Sir Edward Coke, c. 1 628 
Sir Edward Coke, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and afterwards of the 
King's Bench, had practically completed his Institutes by 1628, six years before his 
death. He was appointed High Steward of the University of Cambridge in 16 14. The 
passages here printed suggest the antiquity of the Star Chamber jurisdiction, and the 
dignityand usefulness of die Court. The Fourti Institute was not published until 1644. 

The Honourable Court of Star Chamber 
That which now is next to be considered in serie temporis is 
the Statute of 3 H. 7.. . .Upon this Statute and that which 
formerly hath been said, these six conclusions do follow. The 

1 In the Court of Requests; see p. 300 below. 

2 'SteUion' is a kind of lizard with star-like spots on its back. 'SteUionate' is a 
legal term derived from it, to describe all kinds of fraud to which no other special 
name had been attached. 

3 The Act of 1487. 

T.D. 19 


^. first conclusion is, that this Act of 3 H. 7 did not raise a 
H new court, for there was a Court of Star Chamber, and all the 
^ ^King's Privy Council judges of the same. For if the said Act did 
establish a new court, then should those four^ or any two of 
them be only judges, and the rest that they should call to them 
should be but assistants and aidants and no judges: for the 
Statute of 31 E. 3, cap. 12, which raiseth a new court and 
before new judges, is introductory of a new law, by having 
conusance^ of error in the iExchequer which shall be reversed in 
the Exchequer Chamber^ before the Chancellor and Treasurer, 
or calling to them two Judges,'there the Chancellor and Treasurer 
are only judges in the writ of error, and so in the like^. But it is 
clear that the two Justices in the Star Chamber are judges and 
have voices, as it hath been often resolved and daily experience 
teaeheth. And further, to clear this point, if the Justices should 
be but assistants and no judges in the Star Chamber, for that they 
are to be called, etc., then and for the same reason should neither 
Lord spiritual nor temporal nor other of the Privy Council be 
jiudges nor have voices in the Court of Star Chamber. And there- 
fore the sudden opinion in 8 H. 7 and of others not ob- 
serving the said distinction between Acts declaratory of pro- 
ceedings in an ancient court and Acts introductory of a new law 
in raising of a new Court, is both contrary to law and continual 

The second conclusion is, that the Act of 3 H. 7, being in 
the affirmative, is not in some things pursued. For where that 
-Act directeth that the bill or information should be put to the 
Lord Chancellor, etc., all bills and informations in that Court are 
constantly and continually directed to the King's Majesty, as 
they were before the said Act ; and it is a good rule that where 
the Act of 3 H. 7 is not pursued, there (if there be many 
judicial precedents in another sort) they must have warrant from 
the ancient Court, and yet it is good (as much as may be) to pursue 
this Act, there being no greater assurance of jurisdiction than an 
Act of Parliament. And where there be no such precedents, then 
the Statute as to the judges must be pursued; and that was the 
reason that in default of others, Sir Christopher Wray, Chief 

^ I.e. The Chancellor, Treasurer, and Lord Privy Seal mentioned in the original 
statute, and the Lord President of the Council added in 1529 by 21 Henr. VIII, 
c. 20 (see p. 259 above). 

^ An early form of 'cognisance' retained as a legal term. 

^ See p. 343 below. 

* /. e. And similarly in the present case. The argument appears difficult at first 
sight, but a reference to the Act of 1487 (see p. 258 above) makes it clear. 


Justice of England, for a time was made Lord Privy Seal to sit 
in the Star Chamber, ne Curia deficeret in justitia exhibenda. 

Thirdly, that this Act being (as hath been said) in the affirm- 
ative, and enumerating divers particular offences, albeit 'injuries' 
is a large word, yet that Court hath jurisdiction of many other, as 
is manifest by authority and daily experience, and this must of 
necessity be in respect of the former jurisdiction. 

Fourthly, this Act in one point is introductory of a new law 
which the former Court had not, viz. to examine the defendant, 
which being understood after his answer made, to be upon oath 
upon interrogatories, which this ancient Court proceeding in 
criminal causes had not nor could have but by Act of Parliament 
or prescription, the want whereof, especially in matters of frauds 
and deceits (being like birds closely hatched in hollow trees) was 
a mean that truth could not be found out, but before the Statute 
the answer was upon oath. 

Fifthly, where it is said in this Act, And to punish them after 
their demerits after the form and effect of statutes made, etc., the 
plaintiff may choose whether he will inform upon such statutes 
as this Act directeth or for the offence at the common law, as he 
might have done before this Act; which proveth that this Act 
taketh not away the former jurisdiction. 

Lastly, that the jurisdiction of this Court dealeth not with 
any offence that is not malum in se, against the common law, or 
malum prohibitum, a,gainst some statute. 

•jt, jIb jIt jlb jlt jk 

And seeing the proceeding according to the laws and customs 
of this realm cannot by one rule of law suffice to punish in every 
case the exorbitancy and enormity of some great, horrible crimes 
and offences, and especially of great men, this Court dealeth with 
them, to the end that the medicine may be according to the disease 
and the punishment according to the offence, ut poena adpaucos, 
metus ad omnes perveniat, without respect of persons, be they 
public or private, great or small. 

As for oppression and other exorbitant offences of great men, 
whom inferior judges and jurors (though they should not) would 
in respect of their greatness be afraid to offend, bribery, extortion, 
maintenance, champerty^, embracery^, forgery, perjury, dis- 
persers of false and dangerous rumours, news, and scandalous 
libelling, false and partial misdemeanours of sheriffs and bailiffs of 
^ 'The illegal proceeding whereby a party not naturally concerned in a suit 
engages to help the plaintiff or defendant to prosecute it on condition that, if it be 
brought to a successful issue, he is to receive a share of the property in dispute' 
{Oxford Dictionary). ^ See note on p. 258 above. 

19 — 2 


liberties, frauds, deceits, great and horrible riots, routs^, and un- 
lawful assemblies, single combats, challenges, duels, and other 
heinous and extraordinary offences and misdemeanours; but 
ordinary, and such offences as may be sufficiently and condignly 
punished by the proceeding of the common laws, this Court 
leaveth to the ordinary courts of justice and dealeth not with them, 
ne dignitas hujus Curiae vilescerety as before is said. 

The proceeding in this Court is by bill or information, by 
examination of the defendant upon interrogatories, and by ex- 
amination of witnesses, and rarely ore tenus, upon the confession 
of the party in writing under his hand, which he again must 
freely confess in open court, upon which confession in open 
court the Court doth proceed. But if his confession be set down 
too short, or otherwise than he meant, he may deny it, and then 
they cannot proceed against him but by bill or information, which 
is the fairest way. 

The informations, bills, answers, replications, etc., and inter- 
rogatories are in English, and engrossed in parchment and filed 
up. All the writs and process of the Court are under the great 
seal : the sentences, decrees, and acts of this Court are engrossed 
in a fair book with the names of the Lords and others of the 
King's Council and Justices that were present and gave their voices. 

This Court sitteth twice in the week in the term time, 
viz. on Wednesdays and Fridays, except either of those days 
fall out to be the first or last day of the term and then the Court 
sitteth not, but it constantly holdeth the next day after the term 
ended; but if any cause be begun to be heard in the term time 
and for length or difficulty cannot be sentenced within the term, 
it may be continued and sentenced after the term. 

It is the most honourable Court (our Parliament excepted) 
that is in the Christian world, both in respect of the judges of the 
Court and of their honourable proceeding according to their 
just jurisdiction and the ancient and just orders of the Court. 
For the judges of the same are (as you have heard) the grandees 
of the realm, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord 
President of the King's Council, the Lord Privy Seal, all the 
• Lords spiritual, temporal, and others of the King's most honour- 
able Privy Council and the principal Judges of the realm, and 

1 An unlawful assembly becomes a rout as soon as the persons assembled do any 
act towards carrying out the illegal purpose which has made their assembly unlawful; 
the rout becomes a riot as soon as this illegal purpose is actually put into effect (see 
Kenny, p. 283). 


such other Lords of Parliament as the King shall name. And they 
judge upon confession, or deposition of witnesses; and the Court 
cannot sit for hearing of causes under the number of eight at the 
least. And it is truly said, Curia Camerae Stellaiae, si vetus latent 
spectemus, est antiquissima, si dignitatem, honor atissima. This Court, 
the right institution and ancient orders thereof being observed, 
doth keep all England in quiet. 

Albeit the style of the Court be coram Rege et Concilia, yet the 
King's Council of that Court hear and determine causes there, 
and the King in judgment of law is ialways in court; as in the 
King's Bench the style of the Court is coram Rege and yet his 
Justices, who are his council of that Court, do hear and determine, 
and so coram Rege in Cancellaria, and the like. 


It is now and of ancient time hath been called the Chaniber 
of the Stars, the Star Chamber, the Starred Chamber, in respect 
the roof of the Court is garnished with golden stars. Some have 
imagined that it should be called the Star Chamber because 
crimina stellionata^ are there handled; others of this Saxon word 
steeran, to steer or rule as doth the pilot, because this Court doth 
steer and govern the ship of the commonwealth. Others because it 
is full of windows; but the true cause of the name is because, as 
is afore said, the roof is starred. In all records in Latin it is called 
Camera Stellata. 

The process in this Court is subpoena, attachment, process of 
rebellion, etc., all under the great seal. 

In this Court there is the Clerk of the Council, which is an 
office of great account and trust, for he is to receive, endorse, 
enter, keep, and certify the bills, pleadings, records, orders, rules, 
sentences, and decrees of the Court; and I find that in former 
times men of great account have had that office in this Court. . . . 

Lastly, it remaineth to be seen what jurisdiction this Court 
hath in punishment, and where and in what cases this Court may 
inflict punishment by pillory, papers^, whipping, loss of ears, 
tacking of ears, stigmata in the face, etc. (For it extendeth not to 
any offence that concerns the life of man or obtruncation of any 
member, the ears only excepted, and those rarely and in most 
heinous and detestable offences). But herein the surest rule is, 
that seeing it is an ancient Court the precedents of the Court 
are to be followed, and the rather for that the Court consisteth of 
such learned and honourable judges. And novelties without war- 

1 See note on p.. 289 above. 

2 I.e. the wearing of papers specifying the offence. 


rant of precedents are not to be allowed: generally some certain 
rules are to be followed, especially where no precedents are extant 
in the case. Quod arbitrio Judicis relinquiter, nan facile trahit ad 
egumnem sanguinis: for general Acts of Parliament which inflict 
punishment, viz. sur forfeiture de corps et de avoir, etc., these are 
expounded not to extend to life or member, but to imprison- 
ment, etc. . . . Coke, Fourth Institute (edition of 1669), ch. 5. 

5. William Hudson, c. 1633 

William Hudson had practised in the Court of Star Chamber, and in 1633 he 
opened the case there against Prynne for publishing Histriomastix. He died in or 
before 1635. His Treatise of tie Court of Star Ciamier-wAS not printed until 1792. 

. . .Whosoever will be pleased to look over the records of the 
reigns of King H. 7 and H. 8 they shall find all the rules and 
orders there entered in Latin. . . . And in those times matters of 
smallest moment were observed with a great deal of state; as, that 
the appearance was recorded before the Lord Chancellor and 
President of the Council, sometimes in the Chancellor's house, 
sometimes in the Parliament Chamber, sometimes in the inner 
Star Chamber, sometimes in the Court; all which gave majesty 
to the Court and terror to the offenders. It is now descended to 
so mean a step as that the appearance is taken only by an inferior 
clerk. . . . Besides, one great inconvenience thereby ensueth, for 
that in great offences the offender flagrante crimine is stricken 
with amazement, and then coming before a grave and reverend 
person, truth is easily won from him, which after the party be 
hardened will never h& gained. And this I have observed upon 
perusal of the records of H. 7 . . . that this Court hath had a 
certain place or residence in Camera Stellata, than which no 
court of England can be more ascertained in place (p. 7). 

Admitting then the King to be supreme judge of all, and, 
sitting in his throne of majesty with his wise men and sages dis- 
tributing justice in his royal person or by his Council, and that, 
finding himself and them overcharged, he hath therefore com- 
mitted the pleas of the crown to certain judges, matters of common 
right betwixt party and party to other justices, and to others his 
revenue, all which before they were distributed to others were 
properly determinable before himself and his Council, it must 
then follow that all courts of justice have flowed out of this Court 
as out of a fountain, the King and the Council having distributed 
these causes to substantial judges for the ease of the subjects and 
themselves, and then this Court must be the most ancient court 
of justice and the mother court of this kingdom; which is the 


more plainly manifested for that almost in man's memory the 
Court of Requests was instituted by the reference of poor people 
and of the King's servants out of this Court, whereby a great 
part of interest betwixt party and party ceased there to be pro- 
secuted. But to prove by judicial acts and records this Court is 
most ancient as it is now established, I mean in the same manner, 
place, and all circumstances, and not founded by Act of Parlias- t 
ment in the reign of King H. 7 — aj doating which no man th^t <- 
had looked upon the records of the Court would have lighted ^ 
upon. . .(p. 10). 

Order requireth that I should now speak of the dignity of this 
Court; of which to treat as I ought I shall want the pen of a reaidijr 
writer, depth of judgment, and the fluent words of a good orator. 
But yet this I dare say, that since the great Roman Senate, so 
famous to all ages and nations as that they might be called /aw 
mirum orbis, there hath no court come so near them in statej 
honour, and judicature as thisy the judges of this Court being 
surely in honour, state, and majesty,, learning, understanding, 
justice, piety, and mercy, equal and in many exceeding the Roman 
Senate by so much, by how much Christian knowledge exceedeth 
human learning; and surely the causes there handled were of the 
same nature with those that are handled in this Court. . .(p. 17). 

. , . Let this then suffice for the dignity of the Court, that in 
the same it matcheth with the highest that ever was in the world. 
In justice it is and hath been ever free from the suspicion of injury 
and corruption; in the execution of justice it is the true servant 
of the Commonwealth; and whatsoever it takes in hand to reform 
it bringeth to perfection. And therefore it is well called Schola 
Reipublicae, the discipline whereof doth not only enter all the other 
courts of justice and ministers thereof, but all the subjects of the 
kingdom. . .(p. 22). 

It foJloweth that I should, in the next place, speak of the 
presence of this Court, that is, the judges thereof, the great 
senators of this state. And because I have already glanced upon 
this question. Whether the Treasurer, Chancellor, or Privy Seal, 
or any of them, be the only judges of this Court, and all the 
rest but assistants?. . .It is fit that I leave it charged that the 
Court . . . did usually determine causes when neither Treasurer, 
Chancellor, nor Privy Seal were present; but sometimes the 
President of the Council alone, and sometimes assisted by others 
of the Council,, above forty times in the 1 2 and 13 of H. 7. And 
sometimes, when neither the Treasurer, President, Chancellor, 
nor Privy Seal were present, other Lords of the Council sat for 


the determining causes, which proveth that they are all judges of 
the Court. . .(p. 22). 

. . . The Court is not alone replenished with noble dukes, 
marquises, earls, and barons, which surely ought to be frequented 
with great presence of them, but also with reverend archbishops 
and prelates, grave counsellors of state, just and learned judges, 
with a composition for justice, mercy, religion, policy, and govern- 
ment, that it may be well and truly said that Mercy and Truth 
are met together^ Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other. The 
number in the reigns of H. 7 and H. 8 have been well near to 40; 
at some one time 30; in the reign of Queeir Elizabeth often- 
times, but now much lessened since the barons and earls not 
being Privy Councillors have forborne their' attendance. And the 
Court was in the reign of H. 7 and H. 8 most commonly fre- 
quented by seven or eight bishops and prelates every sitting-day; 
in which times let me without offence observe, that the fines 
trenched not to the destruction of the offender's estate and utter 
ruin of him and his posterity as now they do, but to his correction 
and amendment, the clergy's song being of mercy. . .(p. 35). 

. . . Fines are new of late imposed secundum qualitatem delicti, 
and not fitted to the estate of the person; so that they are rather 
in terrorem populi than for the true end for the which they were 
intended when fine and ransom was appointed, the ransom of a 
beggar and a gentleman being all one to the case of the Crown, 
the great detriment of the Commonwealth. . .(p. 224). 

William Hudson, J Treatise of the Court of Star 
Chamber (printed in Collectanea Juridica^ I792j 
vol. ii, pp, 1-240). 

6. Francis Osborne, 1658 

Francis Osborne was the author oi Advice to a Son (1656) and Traditional 
Memoirs on the Reigns of Elizabeth and James / (1658). The quotation here given 
strikes a discordant note in the general chorus of praise of the Star Chamber, but it 
represents the seventeenth century view. 

The Earl of Northumberland^. . .was cast into the Star 
Chamber, that den of arbitrary justice, where the Keeper for 
the time being, two bishops, two judges, and as many wise 
lords and honest great officers sat as were pleased to come. 
The most of whom, though unable to render a reason, every 
Wednesday and Friday in term-time concur, like, etc., to tear 

1 Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland, who was tried in the Star Cham- 
ber in 1606 for contempt and misprision of treason in connexion with Gunpowder 
Plot. He was sentenced to a fine of ^30,000 and imprisonment in the Tower for 
life. He was not released until 1621. 


such as refused to worship the minion or to yield to the pre- 
tended royal prerogative. 
Osborne, Traditional Memoirs on the Reign of King James (1658), p. 62. 

7. John Rushworth, 1680 
The brief Discourse concerning the High Court of Star Chamber in Rushworth's 
Historical Collections is in the main an abstract of Hudson (p. 294 above), but the 
passages on the dignity and utility of the Court, with the reservation with which it 
concludes, are extracted below. Rushworth claims that during the intermission of 
Parliaments from 1629 to 1640 he attended all the more important cases in the Star 
Chamber and before the Council Table. In 1640 he became one of the clerks to 
the House of Commons. 

... It was a glorious sight upon a Star-day, when the Knights 
of the Garter appear with the stars on their garments, and the 
Judges in their scarlet; and in that posture they have sat some- 
times from nine in the morning till five in the afternoon, before 
everyone had done speaking their minds in the cause that was 
before them. And it was usual for those that came to be auditors 
at the sentence given in weighty causes to be there by three in 
the morning to get convenient places and standing.. . . 

For the dignity of this Court, I find it's said that since the 
great Roman Senate, so famous to all ages as that they were called 
■pro jure miraculum orbis, there hath no court come so near them 
in state, honour, and judicature; the judges of this Court being 
surely, in honour, state, and learning, for understanding, justice, 
piety, and mercy, equal and in many of them exceeding the Roman 
Senate by so much as Christian knowledge exceedeth humane 
learning. Nor hath this Court at any time wanted a Cicero or 
Hortensius to make a defence for such as are there accused; nor 
is there any bar of pleading which affordeth so large a scope to 
exercise a good orator, the usual subject being the defence of 
honour and honesty. But Chancellor Elsmore^, affecting matter 
rather than words, tied the same to laconical brevity; an honour 
to a court of justice to be swayed rather by ponderous reasons 
than fluent and deceitful speech. It is not the least honour and 
dignity to this Court that the sentences and judgments of the 
same are not the opinion of any private person but the judgment 
of many noble, wise, and learned men conjoined together; so that 
it is a topic rule^ for assurance of truth. 

Another manifestation of the dignity of it is that the pro- 
ceedings are tam lento pede, without precipitation, but giving 
time to the defendant to defend or excuse himself, both in pro- 

1 Sir Thomas Egerton, Baron EUesmere and afterwards Viscount Brackley, was 
Lord Chancellor from 1603 to 1617. 

2 A general rule, but one which may fail to apply in some particular case. 


ducing- testimony and in making defence at the bar. And that it 
taketh hold in judgment only of direct proofs, speaking circum- 
stances, or more than probable presumptions, and these not single 
but double; which causeth the judgment thereof to be esteemed 
worthily, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, irrevocable. 
Besides the reasons of the sentence being succinctly collected and 
knit together and sagely delivered by grave, learned, and notable 
personages, whose very countenances add weight to their words, 
and who tie themselves to certainty and not to conjectural 
proofs.. . . 

The Court for the most part is replenished with dukes, mar- 
quises, earls, barons, also with reverend archbishops and pre- 
lateSj grave councillors of state, learned judges — such a composi- 
tion for justice, religion, and government as may be well and 
truly said (whilst so great a presence kept within their bounds), 
Mercy and Truth were met tagether. . . . 

When once this Court began to swell big and was delighted 
with blood, which sprung out of the ears and shoulders of the 
punished, and nothing would satisfy the revenge of some clergy- 
men but cropped ears, slit noses, branded faces, whipped backs, 
gagged mouths,, and withal to be thrown into dungeons, and some 
to be banished, not only from their native country to remote 
islands^ but by order of that Court to be separated from wife and 
children, who were by their order not permitted to come near the 
prison where their husbands lay in misery; then began the Eng- 
lish nation to lay to heart the slavish condition they were like to 
come unto if this Court continued in its greatness. 

Rushworth, Historical Collections, ii, 471. 

^ The reference is probably to the cases of Prynne, Burton, and Bastwick, who, 
after suffering the punishment described in the text, were imprisoned, Prynne in 
Jersey, Burton in Guernsey, and Bastwick in Scilly. 

The Court of Requests 

The Court of Requests^ may be regarded as the jurisdiction of the 
Council applied to civil matters. Its relation to the Council is very similar 
to that of the Star Chamber, and the history of one Court throws light upon 
some doubtful passages in the history of the other. Both are offshoots of the 
ancient authority of the Council, and in both cases the jurisdiction clothes 
itself with the form of a court and the court receives a special' name; and in 
both cases the authority of the Council is left unimpaired. Finally, the 
lawyers of the seventeenth century adopted the same erroneous theory of the 
origin of both courts, and involved them in a common condemnation. 

The origin of the Court of Requests has been assigned either to an 
Ordinance of 22 Edward III, referring such matters as were of grace to 
the Chancellor or the Keeper of the Privy Seal, or to an Order of 13 
Richard II for regulating the Council which appointed the Keeper of the 
Privy Seal, with those of the Council who happened to be present, to examine 
and deal with bills of 'people of the lesser charge.' There seems to be no 
sufficient authority for presuming such antiquity for the Court, but these 
orders established a tradition which connected the office of Lord Privy Seal 
with 'poor men's causes,* and marked him out as the appropriate officer of 
state to preside over the Court of Requests when it came to be founded. 
The origin of the Court is rather to be sought for in the reign of Henry VII, 
although the jurisdiction which it exercised is much older, being a part of 
the jurisdiction of the King's Council in civil suits. At the beginning of the 
Tudor period the volume of Council business was so great, that a standing 
committee of Council of shifting membership was appointed to hear on 
behalf of the King-in-Council petitions for redress from persons who 
claimed to be too poor to sue at common law. As the records of proceedings 
in the Court begin in 1493, it is possible though not certain that this was 
the date of its establishment. This committee was at first described as 'the 
Court of Poor Men's Causes' or 'the Poor Men's Court,' but it eventually 
borrowed a iramc from a French court representing the patriarchal justice 
of the King of France and came to be known as the Court of Petitions or 
Requests. The standing committee was in close relation to the Council, for 
its sessions were regarded as meetings of the Council, and its judgments 
were given in the Council's name^; the members of the Court were Coun- 
cillors- appointed to hear requests^ under the presidency bf the Lord Privy 

1 The most authoritative account of the history of this Court is to be found in 
the Introduction to I. S. Leadam, Select Cases in the Court of Requests. 

* Baldwin, p. 443. 

* They were often dignified ecclesiastics and professional lawyers. For instance, 
on 30 November, I499> the Bishops of London and Rochester sat with four doctors 
of few; on n March, 1500, the same two bishops, the Dean of the Chapel Royal, 
the Dean of York, the Prior of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, and Richard 
Sutton of the Inner Temple, one of the legal members of the Council, well known 
as Sir Richard Sutton, one of the founders of Brasenose College, Oxford. 


Seal; and the Court, like the Council, attended the person of the King and 
followed the royal progresses'-. The inconvenience to suitors of a peripatetic 
Court led Wolsey, either in 1516 or 15 17, to establish it in a permanent 
seat of judgment in the White Hall of the Palace of Westminster^ [p. 302], 
although for some years longer it continued occasionally to follow the King. 
It still regarded itself as the King's Council, and is always so described in the 
earlier books of orders and decrees. The name 'Court of Requests' does 
not appear until 1529, and in that reference the judges of the Court are 
still described as Councillors 'appointed for the hearing of poor men's 
causes in the King's Court of Requests.'^ 

About 1550 two permanent expert judges called Masters of Requests 
began to control the business of the Court, and from that time the process 
was set up, familiar in other spheres, by which the experts gradually drove 
out or dominated the non-experts, and appropriated all real power. As a 
consequence of this, procedure hardened and became formal in character, 
and the historical connexion of the Court of Requests with the Council was 
obscured. The increase of business, for the honesty of the judges and the 
comparative simplicity of the procedure made the Court very popular among 
litigants, led Elizabeth to appoint two ' Masters of Requests Extraordinary' 
in addition to the two ' Masters of Requests Ordinary,' in order that when 
she went on royal progresses two Masters could follow the Sovereign with- 
out making it necessary to inflict inconvenience upon a crowd of suitors by 
closing the Court at the White Hall; but true to her policy of economy she 
only offered to pay them by expectation — the hope of succeeding to one of 
the salaried Masterships later on. The stipend attached to the office of 
Master Ordinary was ^loo z. year. At the accession of James I four 
Masters Ordinary were appointed, and an immense amount of business 
was discharged by the Court. 

§ I. Procedure 

The Court of Requests did not, like the Star Chamber, keep fixed 
terms, but was accessible to suitors throughout the year; and provision was 
made for securing the attendance of a sufficient number of Councillors at 
all times to hear cases*. 

The procedure of the Court resembled that of the Star Chamber, but it 
was at first more expeditious and less costly 5. A suit was begun by a petition 
addressed to the King, followed by an 'answer' by the defendant, and some- 

1 In 1494 it sat at Sheen, Canterbury, Windsor, Langley, and Woodstock, as 
well as at Westminster (Leadam, p. xii). 

2 This hall was close to Westminster Hall, and should not be confused with the 
Palace of Whitehall. 

* Quoted in Leadam, p. xiv. 

* Baldwin, p. 443. The arrangements for attendance were contained in an 
Order of the Court dated 1494, described by Sir Julius Caesar in his Ancient State 
i . .of the Court of Requests (1597), p. i. 

6 But see Leadam, p. xxi. The Court was controlled by civilians and not by the 
common lawyers, and according to Sir Julius Caesar, its procedure was 'altogether 
according to the process of summary causes in the civil law' {Law Quarterly Review, 
XXXV, 298).' 


times by a further 'replication' and 'rejoinder,' and the parties were ex- 
amined upon interrogatories and could produce witnesses. Appearance was 
commonly ordered by writ of privy seal, but, if necessary, 'proclamation of 
rebellion' could be made or a 'commission of rebellion' issued, and the party 
arrested by a pursuivant or serjeant-at-arms sent out by the Court. 

§ 2. Business 

As the Court was 'a court of conscience, appointed to mitigate the 
rigour of proceeding in law,'^ it was free to cover a wide field of jurisdiction. 
It dealt with 'questions of title to and possession of land, especially as to 
copyholds, fines and commons, tithes, annuities, trusts, extents^, debt with 
specialti^^ and without, executorships and administratorships, contracts, 
villenages, watercourses, leases, covenants generally, highways, wardship, 
dower, jointure, escape, forfeitures to the King by recognisance or otherwise, 
riots and routs, forgery and perjury, where goods were seized as forfeited by 
the lord of any manor or by force, cozenage, or dishonest dealing, questions 
affecting the conduct of executors, questions of marriage settlements of land 
or goods, suits for money due upon account or received by the defendant to 
the plaintiff's use, damages claimed for injuries sustained by violence.'* 

In theory the benefits of the Court were limited to poor men and to the 
servants of the King (see p. 307 below), but bya legal fiction suitors sometimes 
made use of it who could not possibly be regarded as coming within these 

A few cases are printed below [pp. 303—6] to illustrate some of these 
activities; and reference should also be made to Sir Julius Caesar's account 
of the Court [p. 308]. 

§ 3. Decline of the Court^ 

The lawyers of the seventeenth century agreed in holding that a court 
pf law, to be a true court, must derive its authority either from an ancient 
royal grant, or from a statute, or from immemorial custom. The Assize 
Courts were constituted by a Commission under the Great Seal; the Court 
of the Constable by letters patent under the Great Seal; the King's Bench, 
Exchequer, and others by ancient ordinances; and these all came under the 
description of a royal grant. The Courts of Augmentations, Wards and 
Liveries, and Firstfruits and Tenths derived from statutes. The Courts of 
the Counties Palatine, the Stannary Court of Cornwall, and the Star Cham- 
ber derived from immemorial custom. The Court of Requests, exercising 
Council jurisdiction, really derived from immemorial custom, like the Star 
Chamber; but by the end of the sixteenth century the tradition of its origin 
had ceased to govern the situation. The Masters of Requests were no longer 
recognised as Privy Councillors, and the Court itself was entirely distinct 
from the Council". Thus the Judges of the Courts of Common Law dis- 
puted the authority of the Court, since it could not produce a royal grant, 
nor could it refer to a statute, and custom that began with Henry VII or 
Wolsey was not immemorial custom. From 1590 onwards the Court of 

1 Leadam, p. XX. * Valuations of land. 

3 I.e. debts based upon written instruments under seal, e.g. bonds. 

* Leadam, p. Ixxxix. * See lb. pp. xl-xlv. 


Common Pleas began to issue prohibitions to the Masters of Requests, for- 
bidding them to proceed further in cases which came before them, and they 
were supported by the Court of Queen's Bench. In 1599, in the leading case 
of Stepney v. Flood [p. 31 2J, it was held by the Court of Common Pleas 
'that this which was called a Court of Requests or the White Hall was no 
court that had power of judicature,' and that their arrest of the defendant 
was therefore false imprisonment. In 1 606 Coke, then Lord Chief Justice 
of the Common Pleas, released from the Fleet one Robotham, who had 
been imprisoned there by the Court of Requests for contempt, and 'com- 
manded' him 'to bring his action of false imprisonment'; and in 1607 it was 
held by all the judges that perjury in that Court was not punishable, 'for it 
is but a vain and idle oath, and not a corrupt oath, because the Court of 
Requests have nothing to do with nor can examine titles of land, which are 
real, and are to be discussed and determined in the King's Courts.' 

The obstacles thus thrown in their way by the Courts of Common Law 
placed the Masters of Requests in a position of peculiar difficulty [p. 3 11 J, 
but the Court survived because it was useful, and the statute of 1641 which 
abolished the Star Chamber did not touch the Court of Requests. In 1642, 
however, when the Civil War broke out, the Masters of Requests, who 
were royalists, ceased to sit, and the, records of the Court came to an end. 
We hear of Masters of Requests during the Interregnum, who dealt with 
petitions and grievances; and at the Restoration Masters of Requests were 
again appointed, but they now concerned themselves chiefly with the ex- 
amination of petitions for compensation from subjects who had suifered 
in the Civil Wars, and no longer exercised jurisdiction as a Court. 

It has been pointed out^ that the crusade of the Common Law Judges 
against this Court was not altogether inspired by pure zeal for the vindica- 
tion of the law. They were themselves largely dependent upon fees, and the 
simpler procedure of the Court of Requests filled it with suitors and made 
it a formidable competitor for fees. This not only explains the attacks upon 
it, but shews vvhy it was able to survive them. 

There were other Courts of Requests besides the Court at the White Hall. 
Of these the most important was one established in the City of London in 
151 8 by the Common Council, 'commonly called the Court of Conscience 
in the Guild Hall.' This consisted of 'two aldermen and four ancient discreet 
commoners,' and its jurisdiction extended to debts of 40 j, and under, due 
among the citizens of London. 

Extracts from early writers bearing on the history of the Court of Re- 
quests are printed below [pp. 306— 13J. 

(i) Establishment of the Court of Requests at 
Westminster, c. 1518 

On this see p. 300 above. 

For the expedition of poor men's causes depending in the 
sterred Chambre, It is ordered by the most Reverend Father, 
etc., Thomas, Lord Cardinal, Chancellor of England, and the 
other Lords of the King's most honourable [Council] that these 

^ Leadam, p. xlvi. 

That is to say 


causes here mentioned shall be heard and determined by the 
King's Councillors hereunder named. The which Councillors 
have [been] appointed to sit for the same in the White Hall here 
at Westminster, unto the which place the pleasure of the said 
most Reverend Father, etc., and the other etc., is that the said 
poor suitors shall resort before the said commissioners for the 
decision and determination of their said causes as appertaineth, 
where they shall have hearing with expedition. 

-My Lord of Westminster^ 
Mr Dean of Paul's 
My Lord of St John's2 
Sir Thomas Neville 
Sir Andrew Windsor^ 
Sir Richard Weston 
Mr Doctor Clerk* 
-Mr Roper^ 
State Papers (Domestic), Henr. Fill, iii. 571, quoted 
in Leadam, Select Cases in the Court of Requests, 
p. Ixxxi. 

(2) Cases in the Court of Requests 

Amadas v. Williams and another, 15 19 
The plaintiff, being a King's servant, was entitled to sue in the Court of Requests. 

To the King our Sovereign Lord 
Lamentably complaining, sheweth unto your Highness your 
true and faithful servant, John Amadas, Yeoman of your most 
honourable Guard. That whereas one John Williams, church- 
warden of the parish church of Tavistock, in your county of 
Devon, and other of the substantial persons of the same parish, 
heretofore instantly® desired and required him to buy for them a 
cross for their church of silver and gilt in London', upon whose 
request and desire, and upon their promise to have payment 
therefor, that is to say, an old cross of silver and the residue in 
ready money, your said servant bought for them a cross of silver 
and gilt weighing twelve score and four ounces at ^s. id. the 
ounce, sum £62, ^d., which cross by your said servant so 
bought and delivered to the said churchwarden and other the 

'^ The Bishop of Westminster. 

2 The Prior of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. 

* Described as 'learned in the temporal law.' 

* LL.D. of Bologna ; afterwards Master of the Rolls and Bishop of Bath and Wells. 
8 William Roper, afterwards Clerk of the Pleas of the Court of King's Bench. 

He was the son-in-law and biographer of Sir Thomas More. * Urgendy. 

' The transaction is perhaps explained by the fact that a certain Robert Amadas, 
presumably a relation of the plaintiff's, was a London goldsmith. 


substantial of the same parish, who promised him the said old 
cross and payment of the rest in ready money within 8 days after. 
Howbeit now, most gracious Sovereign Lord, the churchwardens 
and parishioners now refuse and deny to deliver the said old cross 
or any part or parcel of the money for the same new cross to 
your said servant, which amounteth to ;^62, 4^., to his express 
wrong and great hindrance unless your grace be unto him merci- 
fully shewed in this behalf. And forasmuch as your said orator 
can have no remedy against them by your common law, it may 
therefore please your Highness of your most noble and abundant 
grace, having tender consideration unto the premises, to address 
your most gracious letters under your privy seal unto the said 
John Williams and John Goodstoke, now churchwardens there, 
commanding them by the same to come and personally appear 
afore your Highness and your most discreet Council to answer to 
the premises. And he shall ever pray for your most noble and 

royal estate. ... 

Leadam, Select Cases in the Court of Requests, 1497-1596 
(Selden Society, vol. xii, 1898), p. 17. 

Peterson v. Frederick and others, 1521 
To my Lord CardinaVs Grace 

In most humble wise beseeching your good Grace your 
humble orator and faithful and [true] bedeman, Cornelius Peter- 
son, Dutchman. That whereas he hath continued brother of the 
Brotherhood of St Barbara by the space of 10 years, and hath 
truly paid for his incoming and all other duties and charges as it 
is yearly ordained for the maintenance of the same Brotherhood 
according to the rolls and books of the same. And further, 
gracious Lord, it is provided that if any of the brethren of the. 
same Brotherhood shall hap to fall in poverty, sickness, or bedrid, 
that then he or they so being shall weekly have out of their boxes 
and treasure lod. to sustain their poor lives, and at their decease to 
be honestly brought to be buried with dirige and mass of requiem; 
and every brother to offer which offering is for the same oppor- 
tunity to auge^ their Brotherhood. And where now of late certain 
presumptuous and malicious persons of the same Brotherhood, 
intending to break the good order beforesaid and to exclude and 
put out your said bedeman from the said Brotherhood, so that 
your said beseecher cannot have nor enjoy the custom of the said 
Brotherhood according to the effect of the books and rolls of the 
same. Wherefore, to the intent that right, equity, and good order 

^ Increase. 


may be had and from henceforth used in the said Brotherhood, 
it may therefore please your Grace of your benign charity to 
grant your most gracious letters of commission to be directed to 
certain indifferent persons, strangers dwelling and inhabited in 
London, to call before them the Wardens of the said Brotherhood 
accordingly to make answer to the premises. And further the 
same commissioners to settle such order therein as your said 
bedeman may be taken and admitted a brother and to enjoy all 
the customs and privileges of the same; or else the said Wardens 
to restore unto your said bedeman all such sums of money as 
they have received for his admission and yearly payment by him 
made for the same Brotherhood, with his reasonable costs and 
charges. This, gracious Lord, in the honour of God; and he shall 
be your daily bedeman during his life. Leadam 

BuRGES V. Lacy, before 1541 (?) 

This case throws some light on the position of a domestic chaplain in the sixteenth 

To the King our Sovereign Lord 

In most humble wise sheweth and complaineth unto your 
Grace your daily orator Sir William Burges, priest. That where 
he hath continued in service with one Mistress Luce Lacy of the 
said City^ by the space of one whole year, according to his promise 
and covenant, and now at his year's end would lawfully depart 
for his most profit, so it is, most gracious Lord, that the said 
Mistress Luce wrongfully and untruly surmiseth that your said 
orator should grant to serve her another year, which is untrue 
and but matter feigned of malice, as your said orator can and will 
evidently prove and justify by sufficient records and proofs; and 
over this, gracious Lord, the same Mistress Luce, of her royal 
power without cause or matter of right, wrongfully withholdeth 
and keepeth from your said orator all his quarter's wages, i y. 4^., 
and his gown, the price thereof is l^s. 4^., and his letters of his 
orders, contrary to right and good conscience. Please it therefore, 
your noble Grace, the premises tenderly to consider, and that 
your said orator is but lately come to the City, and have small 
acquaintance and very few friends, and also is of none power to 
sue for his right and remedy by the course of the law, of your 
most godly and blessed disposition and at the reverence of God 
and in the way of charity to command the said Mistress Luce 
personally to appear before your Grace there to answer to the 
premises, and further to be ordered in the same as by your Grace 

^ Of London. 
T.D. 20 


shall be thought most according with right, law, equity, justice, 
and good conscience; and your said orator shall daily pray to 
God for your prosperity and state long to endure — 

The answer of Luce Lacy to the bill of complaint of Sir 
William Burges, priest. . 
The said Luce saith that the said bill of complaint is untrue, 
uncertain, and unsufficient to be answered unto, and the matter 
therein contained determinable by course of the common law, 
whereof she prayeth allowance. Notwithstanding, for the further 
declaration of the truth, the said Luce saith that for a truth the 
said Sir William was in service and retained with the said Luce 
for 2 years, and the said Sir William promised, covenanted, and 
granted to serve the said Luce by the space of 2 years, and not 
for one year in manner and form as is in the said bill specified. 
And as touching the. said wages and gown, the said Luce saith 
that she is and at all time hath been ready to deliver it to the said 
Sir William so that the said Sir William will do his service ac- 
cording to the covenant made with the said Luce. Without that^ 
that anything effectual in the said bill contained is true otherwise 
than is specified in this present answer. All which matters the said 
Luce is ready to prove as this Court will award, and prayeth to 
be dismissed out of the same with her reasonable costs for her 
wrongful [vexation] and trouble in that behalf. l d 

(3) Extracts 

I. William Lambarde, 1591 
See p. 285 above. 

In that the Court of Requests handleth causes that desireth 
moderation of the rigour which the common law denounceth, it 
doth plainly participate with the nature of the Chancery; but in 
that the bills here be exhibited to the Majesty of the King only 
and to none other, and in that it hath continually been served 
with a Clerk that was ever therewithal one of the clerks of the 
King's Privy Seal, it seemeth to communicate with the Star 
Chamber itself, and to derive the authority immediately from the 
royal person as that doth.. . . 

... It is out of all doubt . . . that as our Kings have used per- 
sonally to receive complaints of criminal condition, and have ad- 
judged thereof of themselves or by their Council of Estate, so 
have they also from time to time taken knowledge of civil suits 
especially offered by the poorer sort of subjects or by their own 
Household men, and have for the most part recommended the 
^ See note on p. 274 above. 


same to the care of some of their said Council assisted with the 
advice of men learned both in the civil and common laws, so as 
some one temporal lord or bishop, two doctors, and two common 
lawyers have been many times known to have sitten here tor 
gether.. . . 

Now albeit there can no other beginning therefore be con- 
ceived than together with the very regality and kingdom itself, 
yet forasmuch as they of this Court have not always had their 
standing place of resort, but have, until the age next before this, 
remained and removed with the King wheresoever he went, 
travelling between the Prince and petitioners by direction from 
the mouth of the King, I have in this, as in the Star Chamber, 
also taken the first apparent settling and manifest continuance 
thereof for the very spring and original itself. 

And I have lately seen that from the eighth year of King H. 7, 
ever since which time this Court hath rested in the place called 
the White-hall, the books of the acts of entries there have been 
orderly digested and kept^, in which you may read the handling 
of the causes, not only of poor men and the King's servants, but 
also of sundry abbots, knights, esquires, and other rich and 
Wealthy complainants. Howbeit I do well remember that within 
these 40 years the bills of complaints presented there did ordi- 
narily carry the one or the other of these two suggestions, namely, 
that the plaintiff was a very poor man, not able to sue at the com- 
mon law, or the King's servants ordinarily attendant upon his 
person or in his Household. But because enlargement of juris- 
diction is not proper to [this] Court alone but common to it with 
all the rest, I will not now stand to object it, but hasten to an end. 

The Masters of the Requests are neither called by writ nor 
appointed by commission nor created by patent, but only have 
letters patent for their fees and salary; and do take the same oath 
which the Councillors do conceive. 

The Clerkship of this Court hath, as I said, beyond all 
memory been committed to a clerk of the Privy Seal. . . . 

The attorneys were in my first knowledge of them but two only, 
and now are three, whose places are at the disposition of the Clerki 

The usual process is by privy seal . . . attachment, and writ of 
rebellion if the contumacy of the defendant do so deserve; in the 
rest of the proceedings the course is not much different from the 
order of the Chancery. Lambarde, Jrcheion (i 635), p. 224. 

^ It is true that the records of the Court begin in i493> but it was not established 
in the White Hall until c. 15 16 (see pp. 299-300 above). 


2. Sir Jutius Caesar, f . 1 597 

Sir Julius Caesar (15 58-1636) was Judge of the Admiralty and afterwards 
Master of the Rolls. In 1 591 he was appointed Master of Requests, and hence his 
interest in the history of the Court. 

The following quotations are from a volume among the Lansdowne MSS. (No. 
125) partly in manuscript and partly printed, the latter published in 1 597 under the 
title The Ancient State, Authority, and Proceedings of the Court of Requests. Extracts 
from the part in manuscript have been printed in Leadam, Select Cases in the Court 
of Requests. The first passage quoted is in Sir Julius Caesar's own hand, and the 
second also is probably by him. 

Reasons to prove that the Court of Whitehall or Requests is a member 
and parcel of the King's most honourable Council attendant on his 


1 . The Masters of Requests, judges of this Court, are sworn of 
the King's P[rivy] orS[ecret] Council, as appeareth by the oath, . . 
which myself and my predecessors in this place have taken. 

2. The bills here be directed to the King himself. 

3. The appearances here are before the King and his Council. 

4. The process here is sealed with the S[eal] proper to the 
King's Council. 

5. The judges here always called in the acts of this Court the 
King's Council, or the King's honourable Council, or the King's 
most honourable Council; sometimes with this addition — in his 
Court of Requests or Whitehall. 

6. The Register or Clerk here hath always been a clerk of 
the P[rivy] S[eal] and of the Council.. . . 

... 8. No court (under the highest Court of Parliament) can 
re-examine a cause decreed in Chancery, or discharge a prisoner 
committed from thence, saving only the King's Council; but this 
Court hath done it. . . . 

9. No court (under the highest Court of Parliament) hath 
accustomed to cause noblemen to attend on it de die in diem, and 
not to depart without license. . .saving only the King's Council; 
but this Court hath always accustomed the same. 

10. This Court is one of the King's Courts. . .and standeth 
only by prescription of the King's Council, as appeareth by the 
acts of this Court and the common law, it having neither com- 
mission under the Great Seal or Act of Parliament to establish it 
otherwise; but the King's Council prescribeth only for itself, 

... 12. Some judges of this Court have from time to time 
till I Eliz. sat, alternis vicibus, as judges in the Star Chamber, 
where none may sit as judges but such as be of the King's most 


honourable Council, saving only the two Justices named in the 
Statute of 3 H. 7, cap. i <?/ 2 1 H. 8, cap. 20. The former is proved 
by the records of both Courts, the Star Chamber and Requests. 

13. The judges of this Court (now commonly since 4 E. 6 
called Masters of Requests) were always numbered and pro- 
vided for in the books of the King's Household as the King's 
Council, without any distinction or difference of more Councils 
than one, as may appear by the Black Book of the said Household, 
and by the titles given unto them who then had the care to take 
and answer the requests and supplications made unto the King.... 

... 1 5. No man's hand but a Councillor's can command the 
King's P[rivy] S[eal], as appeareth by the ancient oath of the 
Clerks of the P[rivy] S[eal]. But every of the judges of this Court 
his hand commandeth the said P[rivy] S[eal]; ergo 

16. That Council, which since 33 H. 8 hath been called 
commonly the King's P[rivy] C[ouncil], was always heretofore 
called the King's C[ouncil] without any other title, or else en- 
titled the King's honourable or most honourable C[ounciI] with 
this further title sometimes — daily attendant on his person— - 
as appeareth by the statutes imprinted; but the King's C[ouncil] 
in Whitehall hath all those titles, as appeareth by the records of 
that Court tempore H. 7, H. 8, E. 6, M. i, et Eliz.; ergo 

Leadam, Select Cases in the Court of Requests 1497-1569 (Selden Society, 

vol. xir, 1898), p. XXX. 

Moreover if the Court of White Hall be no lawful Court 

1. Why hath it continued ever since 9 H. 7 without inter- 
tuption } 

2. Why have the Judges of the Common Pleas, when they 
were Serjeants and sworn to maintain the course of law, took 
men's money for drawing bills to be preferred into this Court.' 

3. Why have all the learned Judges of the Common Law in 
their serjeanty and time of practice persuaded their clients this 
hundred and ten years past to commence causes in that Court.? 

4. Why have the subjects of England thus long been de- 
luded to spend their money in an unlawful Court.? 

5. Why have the Judges of the Common Pleas recommended 
suitors to the Court of Requests, namely, to procure injunctions, 
and in the mean time stayed the proceedings at the common law 
in that Court.? 

6. Why have the noblemen and the Judges of the one Bench 
and the other endured the censure and paid that which hath been 
decreed against them in the Court of Whitehall .? 


7. Why have the Kings and Queens reigning, in their pro- 
clamations or adjournments of terms respectively, named the 
Court of Requests or Whitehall one of the Courts ? 

8. Why hath the wisdom of the whole land in Parliament 
assembled, in anno 32 H. 8 (cap. 9) and in anno 5 Eliz. (cap. 9), 
called the Court of Whitehall one of the King's Courts } 

Surely if Time in all other things justly esteemed the daughter 
of Truth; if the learned Judges of former times who have left 
unto us that learning which we now have, if we have any; if the 
common reputation of the world which in causes of this nature 
hath bred this principle receivable for the common good — com- 
munis error facit jus\ if the noblest and wisest of this state, if five 
Kings and Queens of England successively, if all the three states 
of England correspondently, and, which is more, if the four Judges 
of the Common Pleas in the time of their serjeanty for a long time 
respectively have pleaded causes in the said Court and allowed 
the Court of Whitehall for a lawful Court, I wonder what hath 
moved them being Judges openly to protest and maintain in 
public places that the Jiidges of the Court of Whitehall have no 
authority to sit nor to commit any man to prison, and that the 
same is no lawful Court, thereby to give advantage to the malign-; 
ants over-curiously to scan the authority of this Court, which may 
prove a dangerous precedent against the proceedings and juris- 
diction of other Courts. ... t j 

L>eaaam, p. xxxv. 

Gases quoted in Sir Julius Caesar's' printed work, The Ancient State, 
Authority, and Proceedings of the Court of Requests (1597}, shew (i) that the 
proceedings of the Court ran in the name of the Council, and that the Court, 
like the Council, could delegate the business of inquiry into a particular 
easel; ^2) that the Court, like the Council, took recognisances^; (3) that the 
Cburt of Requests at the end of the reign of Henry VIII still regarded both 
th6 Star Chamber and itself as part of the King's Council^; (4) that the 
Court sometimes refused to proceed in a case where the parties were 'men 
of wealth.'* 

1 Reade v. Hesketh (1-5 12), p. 49. 

2 Addington v. fFaie (c. 1530), p. 82. - 

* . . . 'The King's most honourable Council of White hall, having a respect to a 
former order and decree made by the King's most honourable Council in the Star 
Chamber at Westminster'. . . (38 H. VIII), p. 99; cf. also p. 100, where the Court 
is_ described in the same year as 'the King's honourable Council attendant upon- 
his person, and commonly sitting in the King's Majesty's Court of White-haU in 

« Kingstonv. Sampford (i553)iP- m- Cf.pp, 117 and 119. It often happened, 
however, that such men came into the Court under a legal fiction. 


3. Anonymous, c. i 600 

From an apologist of the Court of Requests in British Museum, Additional MSS. 
25248, fol. 57, quoted in Leadam, p. xliii. 

By reason of the premises, and like both proceedings and 
speeches oftentimes within the space of 10 years last past used 
in the Court of Common Pleas in the open hearing of all comers 
thither, the Court of Whitehall hath received a general and public 
disgrace amongst the vulgar sort, and the Judges sitting there 
only upon her Majesty's express word and commandment (as 
their predecessors have ever done since 9 H. 7, as appeareth by 
the acts of that Court, relying much upon the judgment and 
censure of such four reverend Judges as the Court of Common 
Pleas doth afford), are fearful to sit any longer as judges in White- 
hall, where 

Their sittings are not warranted. 

Their decrees cannot be executed. 

Their authorities are contemned. 

Their prisoners are discharged by habeas corpus. 

Their suitors' proceedings are stayed by prohibitions. 

Their orders scorned and publicly slandered. 

Themselves unmeasurably toiled without profit, yea to their 
great hindrance, and, which is most of all, subject in the censure 
of four grave Judges to most severe punishment as mad busy- 
bodies that sit in places of judgment without warrant of law. 

Leadam, p. xliii. 
4. Sir Edward Coke, c. 1628 

Coke, who was hostile to the Court of Requests, here states the case against its 
jurisdiction, and abstracts the leading case of Stepney ». Flood. 

The Court of Requests 

... It shall be fit in this place to treat of the jurisdiction of 
the Court of Requests, wherein the Lord Privy Seal at his pleasure 
and the Masters of Requests do assemble and sit. And the original 
institution hereof was, that such petitions as were exhibited to 
the King and delivered to the Masters of the Requests should be 
perused by them, and the party directed by them to take his remedy, 
according to their case, either at the common law or in the Court 
of Chancery. And thereupon they were called Magistri a libellis 
supplicum\ and in this respect this meeting and consultation was 
called the Court of Requests, as the Court of Audience^ and 
Faculties are called Courts albeit they hold no plea of controversy. 

Those which in former times would have this Court to be a 
^ See p. 359 below. 


court of judicature took their aim from a court in France, . . . 

But others, taking this jurisdiction to be too narrow, contend to 

have it extend to all causes in equity equal with the Chancery and 

, t^eir decrees to be absolute and uncontrollable. But neither of 

J these are warranted by law, as shall evidently appear. 

In the reign of H. 8 the Masters of Requests thought (as 
they intended) to strengthen their jurisdiction by commission to 
hear and determine causes in equity. But those commissions being 
not warranted by law (for no court of equity can be raised by 
commission) soon vanished, for that it had neither Act of Parlia- 
ment nor prescription time out of mind of man to establish it. 

Mich. 40 & 41 Eliz. In the Court of Common Pleas, upon 
a bill exhibited in the Court of Requests against Flood, for de^ 
fault of answer an attachment was awarded against Flood under 
the privy seal to Stepney, then Sheriff of Carnarvon, who by force 
of the said writ attached Flood, and would not let him go until 
he had entered into an obligation to the Sheriff to appear before 
his Majesty's Council in the Court of Requests; upon which 
obligation the Sheriff brought an action of debt for default of 
appearance, and all this matter appeared in pleading. And it was 
adjudged upon solemn argument that this which was called a 
Court of Requests or the White Hall was no court that had 
power of judicature, but all the proceedings thereupon were 
coram non judice, and the arrest of Flood was false imprison- 
ment. . . . 

The punishment of perjury in the Court of Whitehall by the 
Statutes of [32J H. 8, cap, 9I and 5 Eliz., cap. 92 doth not give 
it any jurisdiction of judicature, no more than the statutes that 
give against a gaoler an action for an escape, or punisheth a 
gaoler of his own wrong for extortion, an officer of his own 
wrong shall be punished by the statutes in that case provided, and 
yet the statutes thereby make them no lawful officers, for it is one 
thing to punish and another to give authority. So it was justice 
in the Parliaments to punish perjury in the Whitehall although 
the Court were holden by usurpation, and so before it appeareth 

to be by the judgment in Stepney's case And as gold or silver 

may as current money pass, even with the proper artificer, though 
it hath too much allay, until he hath tried it with the touchstone, 

^ 32 H. 8, c. 9, prohibits unlawful maintenance 'in any action... in any of the 
King's Courts of Cha,ncery, the Star Chamber, the White Hall, or elsewhere.' 

2' 5 Eliz.c, 9, recites 32 H. 8, c. 9, § 3, and imposes a penalty for suborning wit- 
nesses to commit perjury in any of the Courts mentioned in that Act or in other 
Courts now enumerated. 


even so this nominative^ court may pass with the learned as 
justifiable in respect of the outside by vulgar allowance, until he 
advisedly looketh into the roots of it and try it by the rule of law; 
as (to say the truth) I myself did. . . . 

. . . And although the law be such as we have set down, yet 
in respect of the continuance that it hath had by permission, and 
of the number of decrees therein had, it were worthy of the wis- 
dom of a Parliament, both for the establishment of things for the 
time past and for some certain provision with reasonable limita- 
tions (if so it shall be thought convenient to that High Court) for 
the time to come. . . . 

Coke, Fourth Institute (edition of 1669), ch. 9. 

'^ 'Appointed by nomination,' but perhaps used here in the sense of 'so-called.' 

Council Courts 

Besides the Star Chamber and the Court of Requests, there were other 
subordinate councils localised in particular parts of the country and exer- 
cising Star Chamber jurisdiction there. The organisation and procedure of 
these were modelled on the Council, and they were controlled by the Coun- 
cil, which could withdraw cases from their jurisdiction and deal with them 
itself Of these localised counciloheinQstimporten^^ of 

§ I. The Council of the North^ 

The project for the establishment of a Council in the North grew in 
the first instance out of the a narchy of the Srn rtish Border. In the face of 
hostile Scotland the defence of the Border had been in the Middle Ages a 
military problem of the first importance, and the medieval kings had 
naturally attempted to deal wath it on feudal lines. They had built the great 
Border castles, — such as Norham, Berwick, and Carlisle, and had main- 
tained on the frontier military lords like the Percies, who were strong 
enough to establish an efficient defensive, or even to pursue the invaders 
and to take the offensive against them in their own country. In 1309 the 
permanent office of Warden of the Marches came into existence^, and the 
holders of it soon acquired the custody of the castles, and entire responsi- 
bility for the organisation of the defence of the Border. Their commission 
in its final form, that of 1 399, gave them authority to call out armed forces, 
to hold Warden Courts', to punish breaches of the truce with Scotland 
in accordance with the ancient Laws of the Marches, and to confer with 
the Scottish Warden concerning wrongs inflicted by raiders from either 
side. The three March shires were Northumberland, Cumberland, and 
Westmorland; and although for a time the Wardenship of the whole March 
was concentrated in the hands of the Percies, the East, West, and Middle 
Marches were sometimes under separate control*. 

^ For the detailed history of this Council see Miss R. R. Reid, Tie King's Council 
in the North, published just as the present volume was going to press. It traces the 
first establishment of a Council in the North to Richard III in 1484, and regards the 
Tudors as copyists rather than originators. 

2 On the origin and early history of this office see E.H.R. xxxii, 479-96. 

* These were in full activity in Henry VIII's reign. See State Papers, iv, 6 1 1 ; and 
23 Henr. VIII, c. 16 (i 532), which prohibited the sale of horses into Scotland, and 
provided that offences against the Act should be tried by 'the Warden and Wardens 
of the East, West, and Middle Marches. . .in their Warden's Courts.' See also 43 
Eliz. c. 13, § 5 (p. 331 below). 

* 'And seeing I stand charged as your Grace's Warden for redress of attemp- 
tates, as well done by sea as by land, upon the East and Middle Marches against 
Scotland, like as the Lord Dacre doth upon your Highness's West Marches. . .' 
(Northumberland to Henry Fill, State Papers, iv, 627). 


In the Middle Ages the Border had been a scene of perpetual anarchy. 
When England and Scotland were at war, the great lords of the Border had 
to face military operations conducted upon a large scale^; and even when 
the two countries were nominally at peace, plundering raids continued to 
keep the farther north in a state of backwardness and barbarism, 'Poverty 
is the best protection against pillage,' and it was not worth while to develop 
civilisation in districts exposed to perpetual invasion. In the Tudor period, 
however, the chronic war with Scotland began to draw to an end, as one 
result of the Reformation was the separation of Scotland from France and 
its attachment to the religious group to which England belonged, and thus 
the fundamental cause of the anarchy of the Border ceased to operate. But 
it was not the case that anarchy itself ceased — only that the eflForts to put it 
down had now a better chance of success. Open war between the two 
countries ceased with the peace of 1550, and from that time onwards special 
efforts were made to keep the Border quiet. Fortifications were repaired; 
watch and ward was more systematically kept; the passes were staked to 
render the country more accessible. The Border administration passed from 
the great lords of the north into the hands of skilled and experienced royal -^ 
officials acting under instructions from the centre of afiairs; and with the 
officials came the principles of business. The records of the Border afford 
strong testimony to the general efficiency of ^vernment, especially during 
the reign of Elizabeth. 

After the union of England and Scotland in 1603 the office of Lord 
Warden of the Scottish Marches was abolished, and the Border passed under 
the ordinary law. But anarchy, like Charles II, took an unconscionable time 
in dying. Generations of disorder had created habits which it took long to 
eradicate; the men from the Border were looked upon with suspicion in 
the orderly places and especially in the towns% and this feeling lingered long. 
Eventually, however, the moss-troopers of the seventeenth century became 
the mere sheepstealers of the eighteenth, who were dealt with by the 
ordinary process of law; and the Border ceased to present a special problem 
for English statesmanship. 

For. the Tudors the problem of the anarchy of the Border was associated 
with the wider question of the anarchy of the North. There the feudal 
structure of society was vigorous and tenacious of life, and the Tudor 
centralised government found itself confronted by feudal franchises and 
feudal ideas. In Yorkshire even as late as the reign of Elizabeth it could be 

1 Cf. the speech which Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Henry V: 
'For you shall read that my great-grandfather 
Never went with his forces into France, 
But that the Scot on his unfurnished kingdom 
Came pouring, like the tide into a breach. 

With ample and brim fulness of his force ' 

Henry V, i, ii. 

"^ In 1 564 the Merchant Adventurers of Newcastle passed a bye-law forbidding 
anyone to take as an apprentice a native of Tynedale and Redesdale, because they 
'commit frequent thefts and felonies,' and no good can proceed 'from such lewd 
and wicked progenitors.' 


said\ 'The Sheriff has small force, the liberties are so many and so great,' 
and 'throughout Northumberland they know no prince but a Percy.' Thus 
the conditions which in the rest of England had been successfully dealt with 
by the Star Chamber still survived in the intractable North, and there a 
localised Council with Star Chamber powers would find plenty of work to do. 

Henry VI IPs reorganisation of the North began in connexion with the 
defence of the Border. In 1522, when the Duke of Albany was known to 
be preparing an invasion in force, the King designed 'to send some nobleman 
to Yorkshire as his Lieutenant, to set the country north of the Trent in 
readiness. '2 In 1525 Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, the King's natural 
son, then six years of age, was appointed Lieutenant-General north of the 
Trent and Warden of the Scottish Marches, to govern with the advice of 
a council described as the ' Duke of Richmond's Council,'^ but also as the 
'Council of the North.'* The child-duke resided in the north from 1525 
to 1532, but in 1530 a 'King's Council in the North Parts' was separated 
from the Duke's Household Council^ and the Bishop of Durham was 
appointed President. This Council acted in close association with the Lord 
Warden of the Marches, under the title of the Council of the North*. 
Although the references in the correspondence after 1533 are rather 
ambiguous, it is probable that this co-operation continued until the outbreak 
of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536', 

The idea of converting the Council of 1530 into a permanent 
institution may have occurred to Cromwell before the insurrection supplied 
a new and urgent cause for it. In a letter of 8 April, 1535®, Maunsell calls 
his attention to one of the standing difficulties of government in the North 
which was unconnected with the problem of the defence of the Border, — 
' It is time to see reformation, for commissions often do little good in these' 
parts by reason of their affinities and confederacies'; and in June a memo- 
randum by Cromwell himself refers to 'the establishment of a Council in the 
North.'* After the suppression of the rising, an inquiry into its causes and 
the adoption of special measures for the settlement of the country became of 
pressing importance, and a scheme was prepared in Council 'for the perfect 
establishment of the North Parts.' '^'' This provided for the sending down of 
the Duke of Norfolk as the King's Lieutenant, and joined wirfi him 'a 
Council of personages of honour, worship, and learning. '^^ Meanwhile, the 

M ^ By Lord Hunsdon, Warden of the East Marches and Governor of Berwick 
under Elizabeth (quoted in Pollard, Polit. Hist. p. 278). 

* L. and P. vol. iii, pt i, no. 2075. 

* U. vol. iv, pt ii, nos. 2402, 3477, 3552, 3610; pt iii, no. 5430. 

* See the letters to Wolsey of 29 October and 22 November, 1525, from 'the 
Council of the North' (ib. vol. iv, pt i, nos. 1727 and 1779). 

5 Reid, pp. 113, 114. 

* L. and P. vi, nos. 155, 174, 217; State Papers, Henry Fill, iv, 636. 

' Lapsley, p., 2 59. On the part played in the rising by the Council of the North, 
see Reid, p. 1 39. ^ L. and P. viii, no. 515. 

* Ii. viii, no. 892 ; on this memorandum see Reid, p. 1 20. * 
^'^ Ib. xi, no. 1410. 

^^ 'A Council such as the Duke of Richmond had' .(<^. xi, no. 1 363). For the in- 
\ structions given to the Duke, see ib. vol. xii, pt i, no. 98. 


plan for a permanent Council was maturing^, and in a letter to the Duke of 
Norfolk, written 12 June, 1537, *^^ King announced his intentions with 
regard to it: 'We do purpose shortly to revoke you and to establish a standing 
Council there, for the conservation of those countries in quiet, and the ad- 
ministration of common justice.'^ The Lord President was to be Cuthbert 
Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, and six other Councillors were appointed, one 
of whom was Robert Holgate, Bishop of LlandafF, himself to be Lord 
President later on when Archbishop of York. Their commission [p. 318]^ 
was issued in July, 1537. By this they received authority over all offences 
which disturbed the peace and tranquillity of the King's subjects in the coun- 
ties of York, Northumberland, Westmorland, and Durham, and the cities 
of York, Kingston-upon-Hull, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and also over 
real and personal actions in cases where either party was too poor to proceed 
at common law. The King's Commission was supplemented by Instructions 
[p. 320]*. These assign a dominant position to the President of the Council, 
giving him 'a voice negative'; they establish a distinction between a small 
body of paid Councillors in constant attendance and a larger body of honorary 
Councillors required to be present at the 'four general sittings'; they 
authorise the use of recognisances and the infliction of Star Chamber punish- 
ments; and they follow the tradition of the Court of Requests in requiring 
special consideration for poor men, whether suitors to the Court or not, and 
in establishing an expeditious procedure and a strict limitation of the fees to 
be charged for the processes of the Court. They also provide for the refer- 
ence of difficult cases on points of law to the Judges at Westminster, and on 
questions of fact to the King's Council attendant upon his person. 

By the end of 1538 the new Council was in full activity*, in Durham 
as well as in the March shires; and its authority received indirect statutory 
confirmation by the Subsidy Act of 1540 [p. 328] and the Tillage Act of 

^57^ [P- 329]- 

The Council of the North thus constituted in 1537 ^ * permanent 

organisation proved itself during the Tudor period ajn ost efficient inst ru- 

ment of thece ntral govern ment, but the terms of the preamble or a statute 

of TtnaTJpTszg] suggest that even by the end of the period the work of 

estaWishing order in those turbulent counties was still incomplete. 

The Council of the North was abolished in 164 1 by the Act which put 

an end to the Star Chamber and the High Commission Court. 

1 L. and P. xii, pt. ii, nos. 100, 102. ^ State Papers, 1, 554. 

' The greater part of the Latin text is quofed by Coke in his Fourth Institute, 
and is printed below. 

* The earliest extant are those of 1 545, and they establish a precedent which 
was followed throughout the Tudor period. The instructions issued by James I in 
1603 follow the same form, although there are differences in detail; these are printed 
in Prothero, p. 363. 

5 See a letter from the Council of the North to the King, dated 8 December, 
1538, describing their activities {State Papers, Henry Fill, v, 142). 


(i) Coke on the Commission of 1537 

Sir Edward Coke's account of the establishment of the Council of the North 
assigns the earliest commission to 1540. On the Institutes see p. 289 above. 

The President and Council in the North 

This Council is neither warranted by Act of Parliament nor 
by prescription, but raised by King H. 8 by his commission, upon 
these occasions and in the manner hereafter expressed. After the 
suppression of monasteries of the yearly value of two hundred 
pound or under, which was by Act of Parliament 4 Febr. Anno 
27 H. 8, in the beginning of 28 H. 8 there was a-great insurrec- 
tion ... in Lincolnshire, pretending it to be for the cause of 
religion.. . . As soon as they were appeased, a great rebellion for 
the same pretence of 40,000 of that county, of whom Sir Robert 
Aske was leader.. . .Soon after, a great commotion for the same 
pretence was raised in Lancashire by men of that county, and in 
Cumberland, Westmorland, and Northumberland. . . . After this 
... a great multitude did rise and assaulted Carlisle Castle. . . . 
Soon after Sir Francis Bigod with a great number rose. . .in 
Yorkshire. . . .And after this the Lord Darcy, . . and others began 
a new rebellion about Hull in Yorkshire. . .And all these rebellions 
fell out between the beginning of 28 H. 8 and 30 H. 8. 

The King, intending the suppression of the great monasteries, 
which in effect he brought to pass in anno 31 H. 8, for preventing 
of future dangers and keeping those northern counties in quiet, 
in anno 3 1 of his reign raised a President and Council there, and 
gave them besides two several powers and authorities under one 
Great Seal, the one of Oyer and Terminer, De quibuscunque 
congregationibus et conventiculis illicitis, coadunationibus, con- 
federationibus, LoUardiis, misprisionibus, falsis allegantiis, trans- 
gressionibus, riotis, routis, retentionibus, contemptibus, falsitati- 
bus, manutenentiis, oppressionibus, violentiis, extortionibus, et 
aliis malefactis, ofFensis, et injuriis quibuscunque, per quae pax et 
tranquillitas subditorum nostrorum in Com. Eborum, Northum- 
berland, Westmorland, Durham, et Com. Civitatis Eborum, 
Kingston super Hull, et Newcastle super Tinam gravetur, etc., 
secundum legem et consuetudinem regni nostri Angliae, vel 
aliter secundum sanas discretiones vestras audiend. et terminand. 
The other authority was, Necnon quascunque actiones reales seu 
de libero tenemento, et personales causasque debitorum et de- 
mandorum quorumcunque in Com. praedictis, quando ambae 
partes vel altera pars sic paupertate gravata fuer. quod commode 


jus suum secundum legem regni nostri aliter prosequi non possit, 
similiter secundum leges et consuetudines regni nostri Angliae vel 
aliter secundum sanas discretiones vestras audiend. et termi- 

But these authorities were granted to the end that Com- 
missioners hy mediation might quiet controversies when one of 
the parties or both were poor, who are ever most clamorous. And 
all the authority they had was expressed in the patents or com- 
mission under the great seal, without any reference to instruc- 
tions, or any instructions at all. But afterwards, for that the said 
commission was against law, and to the end that their authority 
should not be known, they procured the first institution to be ex 
diametro altered, viz. that their commission should not give them 
any express authority at all, but wholly did refer their authority 
to certain instructions^ which they kept themselves in private, 
and were not enrolled in any court whereunto the subject might 
have resort. Sed misera servitus est ubijus est vagum aut incognitum. 
And thereupon King James, being informed hereof by the Judges 
of the Common Pleas (who had granted prohibitions to the Presi- 
dent and Council) gave order that their instructions should be 
enrolled^, to the end that the subject might take advice of learned 
counsel what course he might take to enjoy the benefit of the 
laws of the realm, his best birthright. 

And it appeareth in the Subsidy in Anno 32 H. 8, cap. 50^ 
that H. 8 raised not only this President and Council but a Presi- 
dent and Council also having like authority in the Western 
Parts, pretending it to be for their ease to receive justice at their 
own doors, but they of Cornwall, Devon, etc., desirous to live 
under the immediate government of the King and the common 
law, opposed it, et sic Commissio ilia cito evanuif, which Commis- 
sion under the Great Seal we have seen. See in the statute of 1 3 
EUz.* where the President and Council of York is mentioned, 
and no man doubteth but that there is a President and Council 
de facto, but what jurisdiction they have is the question.. . . 

And in respect of some continuance it hath had and many 
decrees made, it were worthy of the wisdom of a Parliament for 
some establishment to be had therein. 

Coke, Fourth Institute (edn. of 1669), c. 49. 

1 See the Instructions of 1545, printed on p. 320 below. 

2 See the Instructions of 1603 printed in Prothero, p. 363. 

3 See p. 328 below. 
* See p. 329 below. 


(2) Instructions for the Council of the North, 1545 

Instructions given by the Kin^s Highness to... the Archbishop of 

Tork^ and such other as shall be named hereafter, whom his Majesty 

hath appointed to be of his Council resident in the North parts 

His Majesty, much desiring the quietness and good govern- 
ance of the people there, and for speedy and indifferent admin- 
istration of justice to be had between party and party, intendeth 
to continue his right honourable Council called the King's Coun- 
cil in the North Parts. And his Highness, knowing the approved 
truth, wisdom, and experience of the said Archbishop of York, 
with his assured discretion and dexterity in executing of justice, 
hath first appointed him to be President of the said Council so 
established, and by these presents do give unto him the name and 
title of Lord President of the said Council; and with the said 
name, power and authority to call all such others as shall be 
nanied of the said Council, at this time or hereafter, together, at 
all such seasons as he shall think the same expedient, and other- 
wise by his letters, when they shall be absent, to appoint them and 
every of them to do such things for the advancement of justice 
and for the repression and punishment of malefactors as, by the 
advice of such part of the said Council as then shall be present 
with him, he shall think meet for the furtherance of his Grace's 
affairs and the due administration of justice between his High- 
ness's subjects. And further, his Majesty by these presents giveth 
unto the said Lord President, in all Councils where things shall 
be debated at length for the bringing out of the most perfect 
sentence — which his Majesty's pleasure is shall be observed in 
all cases where the same shall be such as may abide advisement and 
consultation — a voice negative, to the intent nothing shall pass 
but his express commandment, consent, and order. And his High- 
ness also willeth and commandeth that all and every of the said 
Councillors to be hereafter named shall exhibit to the said Lord 
President as much honour, obedience, and reverent behaviour in 
all things (kneeling only excepted) as they would exhibit unto his 
own Person if he were there present amongst them; and in like 
sort receive and execute all his precepts and commandments to 
be addressed unto them or any of them, for any matter touching 
his Majesty or any process or thing to be done or served in his 
Grace's name. 

And to the intent the said President, being thus established 

1 Robert Holgate. 


as head and director of such Council as his Highness hath erected 
and established there for the purposes abovesaid, may be fur- 
nished with such assistants and members as be of wisdom, experi- 
ence, gravity, and truth, meet to have the name of his Grace's 
Councillors, his Majesty upon good advisement and deliberation 
hath elected and chosen these persons whose names ensue here- 
after to be his Councillors joined in the said Council in the North 
Parts with the said President, that is to say. . .the Earls of West- 
morland and Shrewsbury^; . . . William, Lord Dacre of the North; 
William, Lord Eure; Thomas, Lord Wharton; John Hynde^, 
serjeant-at-law; Edmund Molyneux^, serjeant-at-law;, . , Sir Mar- 
maduke Constable the elder. Sir Henry Savile, knights; Sir 
Robert Bowes*, knight; William Babthorpe, knight; Mr Thomas 
Magnus, clerk^; Robert Challoner, Thomas Gargrave*, Richard 
Norton, and John Uvedale, esquires; the which John Uvedale 
his Highness doth also appoint to be both Secretary to the said 
Council^ and to keep his Grace's signet where he is with the said 
President and Council and not in his absence, — ^wherewith never- 
theless he shall seal nothing but by express warrant of the said 
Lord President, or of two other of the Council by the consent of 
the said President — and also to be sworn a Master of the Chan- 
cery for taking of recognisance in such cases as by the said Presi- 
dent and such of the said Council as shall be from time to time 
present with him shall be thought convenient, the case so re- 
quiring.. . . 

. . .His Majesty ordereth that. . .the Earl of Westmorland, 
the Lord Dacre, the Lord Eure, the Lord Wharton, John Hynde, 
Edmund Molyneux, Sir Marmaduke Constable, Sir Henry Savile, 
Mr Thomas Magnus, and Richard Norton, shall give their attend- 
ance at their own pleasure, that is to say, go and come when their 
will is, unless they shall be otherwise by the said President ap- 
pointed, saving only at four general sittings, where every of the said 
Council shall be present unless they have some just necessary 
impediment to the contrary. And because it shall be convenient 
that a number shall be continually abiding with the said President, 
to whom he may commit the charge and hearing of such matters as 
shall be exhibited unto him for the more expedition of the same, by 

1 The Earl of Cumberland was added 1 1 December, 1 546. 

2 Judge of the Common Pleas, 1545-50; knighted, 1545. 
^ Knighted, 1547; Judge of the Common Pleas, 1550. 

* Warden of the East and Middle Marches, 1550; Master of the RoUs, 1552. 
5 Archdeacon of the East Riding, 1 504. 

* Knighted, 1549; Speaker of the House of Commons, 1559. 

T.D. ^' 


these presents his Highness doth also order that William Bab- 
thorpe, Robert Challoner, Thomas Gargrave, and John Uvedale 
shall give their continual attendance upon the said President, or at 
the least two of them, so as none of this number appointed to give 
his continual attendance shall in any wise depart at any time from 
the said President without his special licence, and the same not 
to extend above six weeks at one season. And for better intreat- 
ment of the said President and all the said Council of both sorts 
when they or any of them should be present in the said Council, 
his Highness doth give a yearly stipend or salary of ;£300. . ,to 
the said President towards the furniture of the diets of himself 
and the rest of the said Councillors, with such number of servants 
as shall be hereafter allowed to every of the;tn, that is to say, every 
of the said Council himself to sit with the President at his table, 
or at a place in his house to be by him prepared conveniently for 
him after his degree and haviour^ : and the said Sir Marmaduke 
Constable to have sitting in the said Lord President's hall or fed 
in some convenient place in his house, four servants; Sir Robert 
Bowes to have sitting in the said Lord President's hall, four ser- 
vants; Thomas Gargrave to have sitting in the said hall, three 
servants; and Mr Magnus and every esquire of the said Council 
to have sitting in the said hall, three servants, at all times when 
they shall resort thither; provided always that, when the said 
President and Council remain and keep their sitting in any city 
or town where any of the said Council dwelleth and keep his 
house, then the same Councillor or Councillors there dwelling to 
keep their said servants in their own houses on their own proper 
costs and charges. And further his Majesty, of his mere goodness 
and great benignity, for the better intreatment of such of the said 
Council as either be not able without further help for their 
charges of their horse-meat and lodging when they shall thus 
attend in Council to serve his Highness, or as not being detained 
there about his Grace's affairs might with their learning and 
policies better themselves in other places, doth by these presents 
limit unto such of the said Council as shall be named hereafter 
certain particular fees after the rate ensuing : that is to say, to Sir 
Marmaduke Constable in respect of his attendance, towards his 
horse-meat and other charges, j[2o yearly; to Sir Robert Bowes 
for the like, yearly loo marks; to William Babthorpe for the like, 
£^o yearly; to Robert Challoner for the like, ^^o yearly; to 
Thomas Gargrave for the like, ^^50 yearly; to Richard Norton 
for the like, ^^o\ and to John Uvedale for the like, ^^o yearly. . . . 
^ Estate, wealth, substance. 


And to furnish the said President and Council in all things 
with authority sufficient and ready to execute justice as well in 
causes criminal as in matters of controversy between party and 
party, his Majesty hath commanded two commissions to be made 
out under his Great Seal of England by virtue whereof they shall 
have full power and authority in either case to proceed as the 
matter occurrent shall require. And for the more speedy expedi- 
tion to be used in all cases of justice, his Majesty's pleasure is 
that the said President and Council shall cause every complainant 
and defendant that shall have to do before them to put their 
whole matter in their bill of complaint and answer, without 
replication^, rejoinder, or other delay to be had or used therein, 
which order the said President and Council shall manifest to all 
such as shall be counsellors in any matter to be intreated and de- 
fined before them, charging all and every the said counsellors, 
upon such penalty as their wisdoms shall think convenient, to 
observe duly this order as they will eschew the danger of the same : 
no attorney to take for his fee at one sitting above lat/. nor any 
counsellor above lod. To the which President and Council the 
King's Majesty by these presents doth give full power and authority; 
as well to punish such persons as in anything shall neglect* or con- 
temn their commandments as all other that shall speak any sedi- 
tious words, invent rumours, or commit any such offences, not 
being treason, whereof any inconvenience might grow, by pillory, 
cutting their ears, wearing of papers, or otherwise at their dis- 
cretions; and to poor suitors having no money, at their discretions 
to appoint counsel and other requisites without paying of any 
money for the same. And likewise his Highness giveth full power 
and authority to the said President, and Council being with him, 
to cess fines of all persons that shall be convict of any riots, how 
many soever they be in number, unless the matter of such riot 
shall be thought unto them of such importance as the same shall 
be meet to be signified unto his Majesty, and punished in such 
sort, by the order of his Council attendant upon his person, as 
the same may be noted for an example to others. And semblably, 
his Grace giveth full power and authority unto them by their 
discretions to award costs and damages, as well to the plaintiff 
as to the defendants, and execution of their decrees, all which 
decrees the said Secretary shall be bounden, incontinently upon 
the promulgation of every of the same, to write or cause to be 
written fair in a book, which book shall remain in the hands and 
custody of the said President. And to the intent it may appear to 
1 See p. 255 note 7 above. 


all people there what fees shall be taken of them for all manner 
of process and writings that shall be used by this Council, like 
as his Majesty straitly chargeth the said President and Council 
upon their allegiance to suffer no more to be taken for anything 
the nature whereof shall be expressed hereafter than shall be 
taxed upon the same, so his Highness will, and by these presents 
appointeth, that there shall be a table affixed in every place where 
the said President and Council shall sit at any sessions, and a like 
table to hang openly, that all men may see it, in the office where 
the said Secretary shall commonly expedite the said writings, 
what shall be paid for every of the same : that is to say, for every 
recognisance wherein one person and sureties are bound for him, 
ild.\ for cancelling of one like recognisance, I2</.; for entering 
of one decree, 6d.; for the copy of the same decree, if it be asked, 
6d.\ for every letter, commission, attachment, or other precepts 
sent to any person, 4c/.; for every dismission^ before the said 
Commissioners, if it be asked,, 4^.; for the copies of bills and 
answers, to have for every 10 lines reasonably written,^ id.; for 
every subpoenay ^d.; for letters of appearance under the signet, 
4<^.; for every leaf of paper written in copy, so that the same 
contain .20 lines, 2d.\ for examination of every witness, ^d. And 
his Grace's pleasure is that there shall be no examiner of witness 
nor writer of either bills, answers, copies, or other process in the 
said Court but by the special licence of the said President and 
some of the Council, so that the said President may ever have a 
voice negative in the same. And for the more certain and brief 
determination of all matters that shall chance in those parts, his 
Majesty by these presents ordaineth that his said Council shall, 
by the space of one whole month in the year at least, remain at 
York, by the space [of] one other month at Newcastle, by the space 
of one other month at Kingston-upon-Hull, and by the space 
of one other month at Durham, within the limits whereof the 
inhabitants there shall be called and to none other place. And 
they shall in every of the said places keep one gaol delivery 
before their departure from thence. His Grace nevertheless 
referreth it to their discretion to take such other place or 
places for the said four months or four general sittings as they 
shall think most convenient for the time,, if by death or any 
other occasion they shall think the towns appointed or any of 
them not meet for them; so that they keep the full term of one 
month in every place where they shall sit, if they can in any wise 
conveniently so do. 

^ Discharge. 


And forasmuch as the King's Majesty, calling to his remem- 
brance how that the great number of his tenants in this realm 
have been heretofore retained, either by wages, livery, badg«, or 
cognisance, with divers persons of the countries where the same 
do inhabit, by reason whereof when his Majesty should have had 
service of them they were rather at commandment of other men 
than, according to their duties of allegiance, of his Highness of 
whom they had their livings; his Majesty's express pleasure and 
high commandment first is, that none of his said Council shall by 
any livery, wages, badge, token, or cognisance, retain or entertain 
any of his Grace's tenants in such sort as whereby he should 
account himself bounden to do unto him or under him any other 
than as his Highness's officers, if he be so in any manner of service. 

And further, his Majesty's like pleasiure and commandment is, 
that the said President and Council shall in any of their principal 
sittings give special motice and charge that none other nobleman, 
gentJeiaaan, or other person presume to retain any of his Grace's 
said tenants in such wise as is aforesaid and as hath been ac- 
customed; charging all the said tenants, upon pain of forfeiture 
of their feoldings and incurring of his Majesty's further displeasure 
and indignation, in no wise to agree to any such retainder with 
any other man, but wholly to depend upon his Highness, and 
upon such as Ms Majesty shall appoint to be his officers, rulers, 
and directors over them. 

And semblably, his Grace's ejqjress pleasure and command 
ment is, that in every such sitting, and in all other places where 
the said President and Council shall have any notable assembly 
foefcre them, they shall igive strait charge and commandment to 
the peopJe to conform themselves in all things to the observation 
of such laws, 'Ordinances, and deberminations as be made, passed, 
and agreed upon by his Grace's Parliament and Oergy, and 
specially the laws touching the abolishing of usurped and pore- 
tended power of the Bishop of Rome, whose abuses they shall so 
beat into their heads by continual inculcation, as they may smell 
the same, and perceive that they declare it with their ihearts, amd 
not with their tongues only for a form- And likewise they shall 
declare the order and determination taken and agreed upon for 
the abrogation of such vain holy days as be appointed only by 
the Bishops of Rome to make the world blind, and to persuade 
the same that they might also make saints at their pleasure, do 
give occasion by idleness of the increase of many vices and incon- 
veniences. Which two points his Majesty doth most heartily re- 
quire and straitly command the said President and Council to set 


forth with dexterity; and to punish extremely, for example, all 
contemptuous offenders in the same. ... 

Furthermore, the said President and Council shall from 
time to time make diligent inquisition who hath taken and 
enclosed commons, called intakes; who be extreme in taking 
of gressoms^ and onering of rents^; and so call the parties that 
have so used themselves evil herein before them; and,., they 
shall take such order for the redress of the enormities used in 
the same as the poor people be not oppressed, but that they may 
live after their sorts and qualities. 

And if it shall chance that the said President and Council 
shall be variant in opinion, either in law or for any order to be 
taken upon any fact, that like as if the case be not of very great 
importance, that part wherein shall be the greater number of the 
Councillors appointed to give continual attendance shall deter- 
mine, or else, if they be of like number, that part whereunto the 
President shall consent and lean, who in all causes as is aforesaid 
shall ever have a voice negative^; so, being the case of great im- 
portance, if the question be of the law, the said President and 
Council shall signify the case to the Judges at Westminster, who 
shall with diligence advertise them again of their opinions in it. 
And if it be an order to be taken upon the fact, th,e said President 
and Council shall in that case advertise the King's Majesty, or 
his Council attendant upon his person, upon the same; whereupon 
they shall have knowledge how to use themselves in that behalf. 
And the said President and Council shall specially take regard 
that in cases between party and party, where the question and 
complaint shall be of any spoil, extortion, or oppression, that the 
party grieved may have due and undelayed restitution, or for 
want of ability thereunto the offenders to be punished to the 
example of others, as well in things that may hereafter be com- 
plained of as of such as be passed heretofore at any time for the 
which agreement is not already made. And if it happen that any 
man, of what degree soever he be, shall, upon such a ground and 
cause as the law will allow for good and reasonable, and shall so 
appear unto the said President and Council, demand surety of 
peace or justice against any great lord of the country, the said 
President shall in that case grant the petition of the poorest man 

''■ A 'gressom' or 'gersum' is a premium or fine paid to a feudal superior on 
entering upon a holding {Oxford Dictionary). 

* I.e. raising of rents so as to be onerous or burdensome. 

* In 1538 this was amended so as to give the decision on points of law to the 
majority of lawyers on the Council (Reid, p. 246). 


against the richest and greatest lord, whether he be of his Council 
or no, as he would grant the same, being lawfully asked, of men 
of the meanest sort, degree, and haviour. 

And forasmuch as it may chance the said Lord President to 
be sometime diseased, that he shall not be able to travail for the 
direction of such matters as shall then occur, or to be called to 
the Parliament, or otherwise to be employed in the King's 
Grace's affairs or about necessary business for good reformation 
within his rule; to the intent the said Council may be ever full, and 
that there may be at all times in the same a personage to direct all 
things in such sort, order, and form as the said President shall do 
by virtue of these instructions, his Majesty's pleasure is, that when 
the said Lord President shall be in any wise so diseased or absent 
as is aforesaid that he cannot supply his room, he shall name one 
of the number of such Councillors as be appointed to give con- 
tinual attendance to supply his room for that season, to whom, 
for so long time as the said Lord President shall be diseased that 
he cannot execute his office or otherwise to be absent as is afore- 
said, his Highness giveth the name of Vice-President, which 
name nevertheless he shall no longer have than the said President 
shall be recovered, there present, or returned home again. So 
his Majesty's pleasure is, that for the time only that any of the 
said Council shall occupy the room and place of a Vice-Presi- 
dent by assignment of the said Lord President as is aforesaid, all 
the rest of the Council shall in all things use him in like sort and 
with like reverence as they be bounden by these instructions to 
use the Lord President himself; whereunto his Grace doubteth 
not every of them will conform themselves accordingly. 

Furthermore, his Majesty by these presents giveth full power 
and authority to the said President and Council that when the 
condition of any recognisance taken before them shall be fulfilled, 
they shall at their discretions in open court cause the same to be 
cancelled for the discharge of the parties; provided ever, that no 
recognisance be in any wise cancelled but before the President, 
or a Vice-President in time of his disease and sickness or absence, 
and three others of the Council at least sitting in court with 

And whereas in an article before written it is contained that 
every of the said Council shall be present at every of the said four 
general sittings; forasmuch as the King's Majesty doth consider 
that it should be much tedious and chargeable to divers of the 
Lords and some others of the said Council to come to every of the 
said sittings, their habitations being far off, his Highness is con- 


tented that those Councillors which be not bounden to continual 
attendance shall be only present at the sitting or sittings that shall 
be near unto their dwelling-places, unless they shall be com- 
manded by the President to attend upon him at the other sittings 
that be further off from them, in which case they shall obey his 
commandment therein, all excuses set apart, as appertaineth. And 
where in another article it is also provided that no person shall 
retain any of the King's tenants by any livery, wages, badge, or 
cognisance, his Grace doth intimate to the said President and 
Council that the meaning of his Grace is that no man shall retain 
any such his Grace's tenants as is aforesaid, unless he shall keep 
the same continually in household with him and give unto them 
meat, drink, wages, and lodging; in which case his Majesty is 
contented that his tenants may be retained, so as the same be not 
such persons as have any office or certain authority amongst their 

o ' State Papers, Henry Fill, v, 402. 

<3) Subsidy Act of 1540 

The Bill for the Subsidy 

The King's most loving subjects in this present ParHameot 
assembled, lovingly calling to their remembrance the innumerable 
benefits and goodness which they always have found in the King's 
most royal Majesty, their natural and most dread Sovereign Lord, 
reigning over them the space of 3 1 years full and more, during 
the which they have wealthily lived and prosperously continued 
under his Majesty, well defended, governed, and maintained 
from and against all manner of enemies, to their no little surety, 
■wealth, quiet, and rest. , . . Considering also the exceeding great 
costs, .diarges, and expenses that his Highness hath sustained in 
and about the repression of the great late rebellion in Lincoln- 
shire and the north parts of this realm; what yearly costs and 
charges also his Majesty is at, and of long time hath been, for and 
about the stablishing of three Presidents and discreet several 
Councils, as well in the Marches of Wales and the shires thereunto 
adjoinimg ,as in the North and West parties of this realm. By 
reason whereof his true subjects, poor and rich, without tract of 
timei or any great charges or expenses, have undelayed justice 
daily administered unto them. . . . 

32 Henr. VIII, c. 50: Stattaes of the Realm, iii, 812. 

^ Without delay. 


(4) Tillage Act of 1571 

An Act for the Increase of Tillage, etc. 

For the better increase of tillage and for maintenance and 
increase of the navy and mariners of this realm, Be it enacted, 
That ... it shall be lawful to all and every person and persons being 
subjects of the Queen's Majesty, her heirs and successors, and 
inhabiting within her Highness's realms and dominions \to export 
corn to friendly countries from certain ports'\ at all such times as the 
several prices thereof shall be so reasonable and moderate in the 
several counties where any such transportation shall be intended as 
that no prohibition shall be made,. . . by the Queen's Majesty. . . 
by proclamation to be made in the shire town or in any port towns 
of the county, or else by some order of the Lord President and 
Council in the North, or the Lord President and Council in Wales, 
within their several jurisdictions, or of the Justices of Assizes at 
their sessions in other shires out of the jurisdiction of the said two 
Presidents and Councils, or by the more part of the Justices of the 
Peace of the county at their Quarter Sessions. . . . 

13 Eliz. c. 13: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 547. 

{5) Blackmail Act, 1601 

An Act for the more peaceable Government of the parts of Cumberland, 
Northumberland, Westmorland, and the Bishopric of T>urham 

Forasmuch as now of late years very many of her Majesty's 
subjects dwelling and inhabiting within the counties of Cumber- 
land, Northumberland, Westmorland, and the Bishopric of Dur- 
ham have been taken, some forth of their own houses and some 
in travelling by the highway or otherwise, and carried out 
of the same counties or to some other places within some of the 
Said several counties as prisoners, and kept barbarously and 
cruelly until they have been redeemed by great ransoms; And 
where now of late time there have been many incursions, raids, 
robberies, and burning and spoiling of towns, villages, and houses 
within the said counties, that divers and sundry of her Majesty's 
loving subjects within the said counties, and the inhabitants of 
divers towns there, have been inforced to pay a certain rate of 
money, corn, cattle, or other consideration, commonly there called 
by the name of Black mail^, unto divers and sundry inhabiting 
upon or near the Borders being men of name, and friended and 
allied with divers in those parts who are commonly known to be 

1 'Mail' is a rent or tribute; cf. 'silver mail,' rent paid in mone7. 


great robbers and spoil-takers^ within the said counties, to the 
end thereby to be by them freed, protected, and kept in safety 
from the danger of such as do usually rob and steal in those parts; 
By reason whereof many of the inhabitants thereabouts, being her 
Majesty's tenants or other good subjects, are much impoverished, 
and theft and robbery much increased, and the maintainers thereof 
greatly encouraged, and the service of those borders and frontiers 
much weakened and decayed, and divers towns thereabouts much 
dispeopled and laid waste, and her Majesty's own revenue greatly 
diminished, which heinous and outrageous misdemeanors there 
cannot so well by the ordinary officers of her Majesty in those 
parts be speedily prevented or suppressed without further pro- 
vision of law : For remedy whereof be it enacted. . . . That whoso- 
ever shall at any time hereafter, without good and lawful warrant 
or authority, take any of her Majesty's subjects against his or 
their will or wills and carry them out of the same counties, or to 
any other place within any of the said counties, or detain, force, 
or imprison him or them as prisoners, or against his or their 
wills to ransom them^ or to make a prey or spoil of his or their 
person or goods upon deadly feud or otherwise, or whosoever 
shall be privy, consenting, aiding, or assisting unto any such 
taking, detaining, carrying away, or procure the taking, detaining, 
or carrying away of any such person or persons prisoners as afore- 
said, or whosoever shall take, receive, or carry, to the use of him- 
self or wittingly to the use of any other, any money, corn, cattle, 
or other consideration, commonly called Black mail, for the pro- 
tecting or defending of him or them or his or their lands, tene- 
ments, goods, or chattels frorh such thefts, spoils, and robberies as 
is aforesaid, or whosoever shall give any such money, corn, cattle, 
or other consideration called Black mail for such protection as is 
aforesaid, or shall wilfully and of malice burn or cause to be 
burned, or aid, procure, or consent to the burning of, any barn or 
stack of corn .or grain within any the said counties or places 
aforesaid, and shall be of the said several offences or of any of 
them indicted and lawfully convicted, or shall stand mute^, or 
shall challenge peremptorily above the number of 20*, before the 
Justices of Assizes, Justices of Gaol Delivery, Justices of Oyer 
and Terminer, or Justices of Peace within any of the said counties 

1 Cf. the description in Waverley of the relations between Fergus Maclvor, the 
'man of name,' and the robber, Donald Bean Lean. 

" I.e. to hold them to ransom. 3 jg refuse to plead. 

* A prisoner had the right to challenge a certain number of jurors 'peremptorily,' 
i.e. without showing cause. 


at some of their general sessions within some of the said counties 
to be holden, shall be reputed, adjudged, and taken to be as felons, 
and shall suffer pains of death without any benefit of clergy, 
sanctuary, or abjuration^, and shall forfeit as in case of felony. 
V. Provided always, That this Act nor anything therein con- 
tained shall not extend to abridge or impeach the jurisdiction 
or authority of any the Lords Wardens of any the Marches of 
England for and anenst^ Scotland; Anything in this present Act 
to the contrary notwithstanding. 

43 Eliz. c. 13: Statutes of the Realm, iv, 979. 

§ 2. The Council of Wales^ 

The origin of the Council of the Marches in Wales may be assigned to 
the reign of Edward IV. From the time of the first Prince of Wales there 
had been a Prince's Council to administer his estates within the Principality, 
and Edward IV only developed an earlier institution. His son was born m 
November, 1470, and was created Prince of Wales, 26 June, 147 1; and by 
letters patent of 8 July a Council of fifteen was established to administer for 
him the Principality of Wales, the Duchy of Cornwall, and the County of 
Chester, until he should be fourteen years of age. In February, 1473, a 
Council of twenty-five was appointed with wider powers. The Prince's 
Council received oy commission from the Crown large judicial and military 
powers not only in Wales but also in the Marches, with a view to the re- 
pression of disorder, and thus both Wales and the Marches were brought 
under one control. 

As most of the records of the Council of the Marches down to the 
reign of Henry VIII have disappeared, its earlier history is obscure, but it is 
probable that it did not become a permanent institution until the beginning of 
the sixteenth century. Henry VII appointed a Prince's Council for his eldest 
son, Arthur, and after his death in 1502 this became 'the Council in the 
Marches of Wales.' Certain statutory powers were conferred upon this body 
in 1534 by 26 Henr. VIII, c. 6 [p. 333]^ and in 1543 the jurisdiction of the 
Council 'in manner and form as hath heretofore been used and accustomed' 
was confirmed by 34 & 35 Henr. VIII, c. 26 [p. 335J. Thus the authority 
of the Council of Wales, although it originated in a royal commission, came 
to rest upon a statutory foundation. 

As in the case of the Council of the North, the Council's commission 
was supplemented by instructions. These were first issued in 1574, and from 
time to time they were reissued with alterations and additions*. Those of 
1574 provide for a Lord President and 20 Councillors, two of these being 
appointed to continual attendance. The quorum was to be two, of whom the 

^ See p. 1 5 above. ^ Over against. 

* For the detailed history of this Council see Miss C. A. J. Skeel, The Council 
in the Marches of Wales; also the supplementary article in English Historical Review 
zzx, 19. 

* The Instructions of 1617 are printed in Prothero, p. 378. 


Lord President or the Vice-President must be one, and the Council was to 
have jurisdiction over 'all manner of complaints and petitions' in matters 
civil or criminal, 'exhibited or put unto them by any poor persons that shall 
manifestly appear not to be able to sue or defend after the course of the 
common law, or by any person like to be oppressed by maintenance, riches, 
strength, power, degree, or affinity of the parties adversaries.' They were 
also empowered to hear and determine all manner of 'extortions, mainten- 
ance, embraceries, oppressions, conspiracies, escapes, corruptions, falsehoods, 
and all other evil doings, defaults and misdemeanours of all sheriffe, justices 
of peace, mayors, bailifis, stewards, lieutenants' and other officials, and to 
punish them with fine and imprisonment; and similarly to punish jurors who 
gave wrong verdicts^. 

The area of the Council's jurisdiction included not .only Wales and the 
Marcher Lordships, but also the four English counties of Salop, Worcester, 
Hereford, and Gloucester^; but the main object of the institution of the 
Council was to suppress the privileges of the Marcher Lords, who dairned 
royal rights on their own estates, holding their own courts, and vraging 
private war at their pleasure. The King's writ did not run upon these lord- 
ships, and as far as the administration of justice was concerned Wales was 
'a congeries of petty states in which no extradition treaties existed'^; it was 
therefore of vitai importance to the Tudor policy of centralisa;tion that Coun- 
cil government should be applied to the Marches, as it was being applied to 
.the similar problems of the Scottish Border by the Council of the North. 

The procedure of the Council of Wales followed that of the King's 
C,6uncil, and its relatioi^ both to the Council and to the Star Chamber, was 
intimate, although it was clearly subordinate to both. The instructions under 
which it acted were drawn up by the Privy Council, and the Council cwuld 
control its proceedings, either withdrawing cases into its own jurisdicticm*, 
or remittir^ them to the Council of Wales for decision^. In tke same way 
the Star Chamber could claiim to supersede the Welsh Council and caJl 
cases to London, and this was frequently done where persctns of ^quality were 
concerned. But both Courts existed for the same purpose, used the same 
legal forms, and inflicted similar punishments; and they were hoth^success&l 
in repressing disorder and making jjistice, especially upon great offenders, 
speedy and comparatively cheap. A writer of 1594® refers to it as 'the very 
place of refuge for the poor <9ppressed of this country of Wales to fly unto'; 
'the best chea;p Court in England for fees, and there is great speed made in 
trial of all causes'; and 'so necessary a Court for the quiet government 
of that country as without the same Wales would be turned into her former 
chaos of troubles.' 

After the end of the sixteenth century the Council of Wales decEned in 

^ See Skeel, pp. 89-96. 

* LuiBow was the centre of the Coundrs authority and there its records were 
iept, but meetings were often summoned at Bewdley and Shrewsbury; and sessions 
were also held from time to time at Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Tewtes^ry, 
Hardebuay, Bii4gworth, Oswiestry, and Wrexham. 

2 Skeel, p. 16. * See Dasent, x, 432. ^ gee Dasent, xi, 6f. 

® George Owen's unpublished Dialogue on the Government of Wales, qaotedin 
Skeel, p. 282. 


importance. As early as 1 561 or 1562 the City of Bristol, although in the 
Enghsh border county of Gloucester, obtained exemption from its jurisdic- 
tion,, and in 1569- Chester established its independence of the Council on 
the ground that it was a County Palatine. In 1604, however, the much 
wider question was raised whether the jurisdiction of the Coundl extended 
over the four English border Counties, and here an agitation against it was 
set up and its processes systematically ignored. The Act of 164 1 which 
abolished the Star Chamber also put an end to the criminal jurisdiction of 
the 'Court holden before the President and Council in the Marches of 
Wales,' although as a civil court it lasted until the war broke out, and was 
revived at the Restoration, to be finally abolished by statute^ as unnecessary 
at the Revolution. 

(i) Act of 1534 

^n Act that murders and felonies done or committed within any Lord- 
ship Marcher in Wales shall he enquired of at the Sessions holden 
within the Shire grounds next adjoining^ with many good orders for 
ministration of Justice Biere to be had 
Forasmuch as the people of Wales and Marches of the same, 
not dreading the good" and wholesome laws and statutes of 
this realm, have of Tong time continued and persevered in per- 
petration and commission of divers and manifold thefts, murders, 
rebellions, wilful burning of houses, and other scelerous deeds 
and abominable malefacts, to the high displeasure of God, in- 
quietation of the King's well-disposed subjects, and disturbance 
of the public weal; which malefacts and scelerous deeds be so 
rooted and fixed in the same people, that they be not like to cease 
unless some sharp correction and punishment for redress and 
amputation of the premises be provided according to the demerits 
of the offenders; Be it therefore enacted. . .That all and singular 
person and persons dwelling or resiant within Wales or in the 
Lordships Marches of the same, from time to time and at all 
times hereafter, upon such monition or warning given for the 
Court to be kept in Wales or in any of the Lordships Marches 
aforesaid, as before this time hath been used, shall personally 
repair, resort, and appear before the Justice, Steward, Lieutenant, 
or other officer, at all and every Sessions, Court, and Courts, . . . 
And then and there shall give his and their personal attendance to 
do, execute, and accomplish all and every thing and things which 
to him or them shall affeir^ and appertain, upon pain of such 
fines, forfeitures, and amerciaments as shall be affeered*, assessed, 
and taxed by the Justice, Steward, or other officer, to the King's 
use if it be within any of the King's Lordships Marchers, And 
1 I Will. & Mary c. 27. * Belong. ^ Assessed. 


if it be within any other Lordships Marches then to the use of 
the Lord of the said Lordship Marcher for the time being. . . . 

IL And forasmuch as the officers in the Lordships Marchers 
in Wales have oft and sundry times heretofore unlawfully exacted 
the King's subjects within such Lordships where they have rule 
or authority by many and sundry ways and means, and also com- 
mitted them to strait duress and imprisonment for small and light 
feigned causes, and extorciously compelled them thereby to pay 
unto them fines for their redemptions, contrary to the law, There- 
fore be it further enacted, that if any Steward, Lieutenant, or any 
other officer of any Lordship Marcher do feign, procure, or 
imagine any untrue surmise against any person or persons that 
shall so give their personal attendance before them at such Court 
or Courts, and upon the same untrue surmise commit them to 
any duress or imprisonment contrary to the law, or contrary to 
the true and laudable custom of that Lordship, that then upon 
suit made unto the King's Commissioners or Council of Marches 
. . . the same Commissioners or Council shall have full power and 
authority to send for such Steward, Lieutenant, or officer, and also 
for the person or persons so imprisoned; And if the same person 
or persons so imprisoned can evidently prove before the said 
Council , . . that his imprisonment was upon any feigned surmise, 
without cause reasonable or lawful, that then the same Com- 
missioners shall have full power and authdrity to assess the said 
officer to pay to the said person or persons wrongfully imprisoned 
6s. %d. for every day of their imprisonment, or more by the 
discretions of the said Commissioners according to the hurts and 
behaviour of the person or persons imprisoned; And that the same 
Commissioners shall set further fine upon the Said officer to be 
paid to the King's use as by their discretions shall be thought 
convenient; And in case the same officer do refuse to appear before 
the same Commissioners incontinent after any commandment to 
them directed and delivered after any such complaint made to the 
same Commissioners, that then the same Commissioners shall 
have full power and authority [to fine the officer and to imprison him 
if he refuse to pay]. . . . 


26 Henr. VIII, c. 6: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 500. 


(2) Act of 1543 

An Act for Certain Ordinances in the King's Majesty's 
Dominion and Principality of Wales 

* * * * Us % 

III. Item, That there shall be and remain a President and 
Council in the said Dominion and Principality of Wales and the 
Marches of the same, with all officers, clerks, and incidents to 
the same, in manner and form as hath heretofore been used and 
accustomed; which President and Council shall have power and 
authority to hear and determine by their wisdoms and discretions 
such causes and matters as be or hereafter shall be assigned to 
them by the King's Majesty, as heretofore hath been accustomed 
and used. . . . 

jfe ^& ^fe ^l& ^^ ^t 

34 & 35 Henr. VI 11, c. 26: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 926. 

§ 3. The Council of the West 

Little is known of the Council of the West. It may have been set up, 
presumably by commission, as a result of the Western Insurrection of 1537, 
and it is referred to in the preamble of the Subsidy Act of 1540^, where one 
of the reasons for the subsidy is stated to be the 'yearly costs and charges' 
incurred by the King 'for and about the stablishing of three Presidents and 
discreet several Councils, as well in the Marches of Wales and the shires 
thereunto adjoining as in the North and West parties of this realm.' In 
consequence of local opposition, howrever, it soon disappeared*. 

1 32 Henr. VIII, c. 50 (see p. 328 above). Some text-books make the erroneous 
statement that the Council of the West was set up by this statute, and is therefore of 
a'different origin to the Councils of Wales and the North. 

' 2 'But they of Cornwall, Devon, etc., desirous to live under the immediate 
government of the King and the common law, opposed it, et sic Commissio ilia cito 
evanuit' (Coke, Fourth Institute; see p. 319 above). 

Financial Courts 

The application of Tudor principles of business to the management of 
the King's affairs, led to the creation by statute in the reign of Henry VIII 

These CJourtewere^ 

§ I. Court of Augmentations 

The Court of Augmentations was set up by statute m 1530 [see below] to 
deal with the confiscated estates of the lesser monasteries. So great a transfer 
of real property required special machinery, and the Act established an office 
for the purpose of handling the augmentations of the royal revenue due to 
this and future dissolutions. An Act of 1540 [p. 339] expressly assigned to 
the Court the control of monastic liberties and franchises; and this was con- 
firmed by an Act of 1542 [p. 340]. 

Henry VIII dissolved the statutory Court and then re-erected it by 
letters patent, but this course failed to satisfy the legal conscience of the time, 
and the preamble of an Act of 1 553^ refers to 'divers ambiguities' 'risen and 
grown among such as be learned in the laws of the realm, whether the. . . 
said late Courts erected by authority of Parliament . . . might by the order 
of the law be dissolved, extinguished, and repealed by letters patents, con- 
sidering that the commencement of them were first had and made by 
authority of Parliament.' The Act therefore declares Henry VIII's letters 
patent to be valid, and empowers his successor during his life to dissolve, 
unite, or change any of the said Courts and to erect new Courts by letters 
patent. As Edward VI did not use this power, a similar authority was con- 
ferred on Queen Mary by another Act of 1553^. The episode illustrates the 
importance that was now being assigned to statutory authority^. 

(i) Act for the Court of Augmentations, 1536 

The extracts from the statute here given will serve to shew the structural design 
of a typical Tudor financial court. 

An Act establishing the Court of Augmentations 

Forasmuch as in this present Parliament. ... It is enacted, 
ordained, and established [here follows a recital of the Act for the 
Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries, 27 Henr. VIII, c. 28]: For 
the more surety and establishment whereof, and to the intent 
that the King's Majesty, his heirs and successors, shall be yearly 

1 7 Edw. VI, c. 2. 2 I Mar. st. ii, c. 10. 


as well truly and justly answered, contented, and paid of the 
rents, ferms, issues, revenues, and profits rising, coming, and 
growing of the said manors, lands, tenements, and other here- 
ditaments before specified, as of the goods, chattels, plate, stuff 
of household, debts, money, stock, store, and other whatsoever 
profit and commodity given, granted, or appointed to the King's 
Majesty by the same, in such court, place, form, manner, and 
condition as hereafter shall be limited, declared, and appointed; 
Be it enacted ... in manner and form as hereafter foUoweth in 
articles, that is to say: First, the King our said Sovereign Lord, 
by authority aforesaid, ordaineth, maketh, establisheth, and erect- 
eth a certain court commonly to be called the Court of the Aug- 
mentations of the Revenues of the King's Crown; which Court 
by authority aforesaid continually shall be a court of record, and 
shall have one great seal and one privy seal to be engraved and 
made after such form, fashion, and manner as shall be appointed 
by the King's Highness, and shall remain and be ordered as here- 
after shall be declared. 

II. Also be it enacted by authority aforesaid that there shall 
be one certain person, to be named and assigned by the King's 
Highness, which shall be Chancellor of the said Court. . .and 
shall have the keeping of the said great seal and privy seal to be 
assigned for the said Court. Also that there shall be one person 
to be named by the King's Highness, which shall be called the 
King's Treasurer of the Court . . . and shall be the second ofiicer 
of the same Court. 

III. Also it is ordained by authority aforesaid, that there shall 
be one person learned in the laws of the land to be named by the 
King's Highness, which shall be called the King's Attorney of 
the said Court, and shall be the third oiEcer of the same Court. 
Also that there shall be one person to be named by the King's 
Highness, which shall be called the King's Solicitor of the same 
Court, and shall be the fourth officer of the Court. Also that there 
shall be ten particular auditors to be named by the King's High- 
ness, which shall be called Auditors of the Revenues of the said 
Augmentations. Also there shall be 17 particular receivers to be 
named by the King's Highness, which shall be called Receivers of 
the said Revenues. Also that there shall be one person to be named 
by the King's Highness, which shall be called Clerk of the said 
Court; and one other person which shall be Usher of the same 
Court; and one other person which shall be called Messenger of 
the same Court; which Usher and Messenger shall be named by 
the King's Highness; and every of them shall have such yearly 

T.D. " 


fees, rewards, and profits as the Usher and Messenger of the 
Duchyi Chamber of Westminster have and perceive^. 

V. Also be it enacted by authority aforesaid, that all the said 
monasteries, priories, and other religious houses which be dis- 
solved and come or shall come to the King's Highness by the 
Act aforesaid, and all the manors, meses^, lands, tenements, 
rents, services, tithes, pensions, portions, advowsons, patronages, 
and all hereditaments appertaining or belonging to any the said 
monasteries, priories, or other religious houses, shall be in the 
order, survey, and governance of the said Court and of the officers 
and ministers thereof; and all the ferms*, issues, revenues, and 
profits coming and growing of the premises or any part thereof, 
shall be taken and received to the King's use by the ministers and 
officers of the same Court in manner and form as hereafter shall 
be declared: Except always and reserved such and as many of 
the same monasteries, priories, and houses, with all their here- 
ditaments, possessions, goods, and chattels, which the King's 
Majesty by his letters patents under his great seal shall declare and 
limit to continue and be in their essential estate and to persevere^ 
in the body and corporation as they were before the making of 
the said Act. 

VI. Also be it enacted by authority aforesaid that all those 
manors, lands, tenements, and hereditaments which the King's 
Highness hath purchased, and now remain in his Grace's hands, 
or in the hands or possession of any person or persons to his use, 
and which hereafter his Highness shall purchase, shall be and 
remain in the order, survey, and governance of the said Court in 
form as is above rehearsed. 

[VII. All 'gifts, grants, releases, confirmations, leases, letters patents, 
and other writings' are to be under the great seal of the Court, the Chan- 
cellor and other officers taking 'for the ensealing and writing of every patent 
such fee or fees as is taken by the Chancellor or other officer or officers of 
the King's Duchy of Lancaster in like case.' The Clerk of the Court is to 
'enrol and register in a great book in parchment' all such gifts and grants 
made under the great seal of the Court, and also to enter in a book the 
appearance of every person summoned before the Chancellor, and all 'acts, 
decrees, and orders' made by the Court, taking such fees as are allowed to 
the Clerk of the Duchy of Lancaster.] 


^ l.e. the Duchy of Lancaster ; see p. 351 below. 

* See note on p. 34 above. * Messuages. 

* See note on p. 39 above. 

^ In the sense of 'continue' or 'remain.' 


XI. Also that the said Chancellor for the time being shall 
have full power and authority to award, under the privy seal ap- 
pointed to the said Court, in the King's name, such process and 
precepts with reasonable pains to be therein limited as be now 
commonly used in the Court of the King's Duchy Chamber of 
Lancaster being at Westminster, against every person or persons, 
whatsoever they be, for and concerning the interest, right, and 
title of the King's Majesty, his heirs and successors, of, in, or to 
any of the premises limited to the survey and governance of the 
said Court, or of or for any rent, account, receipt, or services in 
any wise touching or concerning the same premises or any part 
of them for and on the behalf of our said Sovereign Lord the King, 
or of or for any debt rising or growing by occasion of the same. 

'P ^p ^s ^p ip ift 

[There are 24 sections in all, but §§ 1 2-24 are concerned only with 

QCtSflls 1 

■-' 27 Henr. VIII, c. 27: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 569. 

(2) Act of 1540 

The Liberties to be used 

L Where divers and sundry sites, circuits, aind precincts of 
late monasteries, abbacies, priories, nunneries, colleges, hospitals, 
and other ecclesiastical and religious houses and places, and divers 
honours, castles, manors, messuages, lands, tenements, liberties, 
privileges, franchises, and other hereditaments, by divers and 
sundry statutes heretofore made, be assigned, limited, and ap- 
pointed to the order, rule, survey, and governance of the. . . Court 
of Augmentations; . . . by the which statutes it is not fully, plainly, 
nor expressly declared or rehearsed how. . .the liberties, privi- 
leges, and franchises which the late owners of the said sites [etc.] 
, . .should be ordered, used, exercised, and put in execution; Be 
it therefore enacted. . .that all and singular the same liberties, 
franchises, privileges, and temporal jurisdictions which the said 
late owners have used and exercised lawfully ... shall be by 
virtue of this present Act revived, and. . .shall be in the rule, 
order, survey, and governance of the King's said Court of Aug- 
mentations. . . . 

32 Henr. VIII, c. 20: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 770. 


(3) Act of 1542 

The Bill for the establishment of the Court of Surveyors 

■3|& ^|t ♦ ^t i(6 -Jp 

XXXIV- And where the King's Highness of late \by 27 
H. VIII, f. 27] . . . hath erected a certain Court called the Court of 
the Augmentations of the Revenues of his Crown, and by the 
same made the same a Court of Record. . . and where also \by 32 
H. VIII ^ c. 20]. . .it was enacted. . .that certain liberties, fran- 
chises, jurisdictions, and preeminences. . .should be revived and 
be in the order, rule, and survey of the same Court. ... Be it now 
. , . enacted . . . that the same Act concerning the establishment 
of the said Court of Augmentations . . , and also the said Act for 
reviving of Liberties, shall from henceforth for ever stand and 
abide in their full strength, effect, and virtue, after and according 
to the true intent and meaning of the same several Acts aforesaid. 

33 Henr. VIII, c. 39: Statutes of the Realm, iii, 885. 

The Act establishing the Court of Augmentations may be regarded as 
typical of this kind of legislation, and the other three financial Courts can 
be dealt with more briefly. 

§ 2. Court of First Fruits and Tenths 

The Court of First Fruits and Tenths was created by statute in 1540^, 
*to the intent that the King's Majesty. . .shall be the better served in ob- 
taining' his dues. Like the Augmentations it was to be a Court of Record, 
presided over by a Chancellor who kept the seal of the Court, and having 
upon its staff a Treasurer, a King's Attorney, Auditors, a Clerk, a Messen- 
ger, and an Usher. The First Fruits and Tenths, 'and all the revenues and 
profits thereof which now be or hereafter shall grow or be by any manner 
of means' were to be 'from henceforth in the order, survey, and governance 
of the said Court and the ministers of the same,' who were authorised to 
surnmon persons to appear in court under penalties, ^.nd to issue legal process 
against the King's debtors for the ecclesiastical dues with which the Court 
was concerned. 

§ 3. Court of Wards and Liveries 

In 1540 Henry VIII created by statute^ a Court for the control of the 
King's wards and the administration of their lands. The preamble of the Act 
refers to the 'great rents, revenues, and profits which to his Highness hath 
or shall grow, as well by reason of such persons as have been or hereafter 
shall be in ward to his Highness, as also by mean of idiots and fools natural, 
now remaining or befng, or that hereafter shall remain or be, in his Grace's 
custody, and also for licences to marry made and to be made to women 
1 32 Henr. VIII, c 45. 2 32 Henr. VIII, c. 46. 


being his Grace's widows, and fines made by them for marrying without his 
Highness's licence.' In order that these dues may be better secured to the 
Crown, the Act estabhshes a Court of Record, to be called the Court of 
the King's Wards, presided over by a Master of the Wards who was to have 
the custody of the seal of the Court. There were also to be appointed a 
King's Attorney of the Court of Wards, a Receiver-General, two Auditors, 
two Clerks, a Messenger, and an Usher. With some differences of detail, 
the Court is organised on the same lines as the Court of Augmentations and 
the Court of First Fruits and Tenths. In 1542 the business of liveries of 
seisin was transferred to the Court by statute^, the office of Master of the 
Liveries being annexed to that of the Master of the Wards, an